Jump to content
Christian Forum

British Orthodox Church


Recommended Posts

The British Orthodox Church, formerly known as the Orthodox Church of the British Isles, is a small independent Oriental Orthodox church defining its mission to the people of the British Isles. It has not been in communion with any of the Oriental Orthodox churches since a 2015 decision to return to an independent status.

The present British Orthodox Church derives from the consecration of a French former Dominican priest Jules Ferrette (1828-1904), who in the year 1866 was consecrated as Bishop of Iona by the Syriac Orthodox Church's Bishop of Emesa Boutros ibn Salmo Mesko (1799-1894) with the purpose of re-establishing Oriental Orthodoxy in the West.

In February 1994 a delegation headed by Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury, representing the Orthodox Church of the British Isles, was invited to Egypt by Pope Shenouda III, of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic Orthodox Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda III met the delegation and discussed their dogma (they being of Orthodox origin), and the matter of their uniting with the Coptic Church.

On 19 March 1994, at the "Synod of Soho" which met at the House of St Barnabas-in-Soho, the clergy unanimously supported proceeding towards full union with the Alexandrian patriarchate. In further detailed discussions with Pope Shenouda and senior members of the Holy Synod, held in Cairo in April, May and June in Cairo again on 2–11 April and 28 May-5 June, details of the protocol determining the relationship of the Orthodox Church of the British Isles to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria were agreed. Pope Shenouda decided not to re-ordain Abba Seraphim but to recognise his orders and received him by economia on 4 June 1994. Although his episcopal orders were fully recognised, Pope Shenouda decided to ordain him as a bishop in order to bring all the clergy within the Coptic line of apostolic succession. He had been enthroned as Metropolitan of Glastonbury following the death of his predecessor in 1979, but now he would also be ordained as a metropolitan of the patriarchate. In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, metropolitans are actually ordained, as the senior episcopal rank. On 19 June 1994, on the Feast of Pentecost in the Great Cathedral of St Mark in Cairo, he received these ordinations at the hands of Pope Shenouda assisted by 63 metropolitans and bishops who constituted the Holy Synod.

On 4 October 2015 the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, in response to a request from the British Orthodox Church, "in the same spirit with which this union came into being", agreed to the British Orthodox Church returning to its pre-1994 status "in fulfilment to what it sees as its current mission in the light of the developments and changing dynamics of the Middle East and Britain". The British Orthodox website spoke of it "amicably returning to its original status in order to fulfil its mission more effectively". This resulted in the British Orthodox Church returning to a non-canonical status, outside of communion with any Orthodox or other Church.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury is the metropolitan of the Metropolis of Glastonbury and primate of the British Orthodox Church. In January 2019 it was announced that he would be known as His Beatitude Patriarch Seraphim.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...