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The British Orthodox Church is a small Oriental Orthodox jurisdiction, canonically part of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria. Its mission is to the people of the British Isles, and though it is completely Orthodox in its faith and practice, it remains British in its ethos. It is a missionary community seeking to promote Orthodoxy throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The British Orthodox Church was originally established in 1866 when a Frenchman, Jules Ferrette, was consecrated as a bishop by the Syriac Orthodox Church with the purpose of re-establishing Orthodoxy to the West.

Relationship with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Over the years this mission lost touch with its Eastern origins, but in 1994, under the leadership of the present bishop, discussions with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria bore fruit and the British Orthodox Church was reunited with the Oriental Orthodox Churches from which it had come. At the feast of Pentecost in 1994, at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Abba Seraphim was ordained as Metropolitan by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, and the British Orthodox Church became a constituent of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. The current head of the British Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury.

Metropolitan Seraphim is a full member of The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. His leadership of the British Orthodox Church has not been without controversy - in 1995, several priests left his jurisdiction for the Celtic Orthodox Church, and the Coptic Church held a court of enquiry.

The British Orthodox Church today comprises parishes and missions throughout the British Isles. All its services are in English and it venerates the Orthodox saints of the British Isles as well as those of the wider Orthodox Church. It uses the ancient Liturgy of Saint James as its normal liturgy, together with all the traditional services of the Coptic Orthodox Church, such as the morning and evening "Raising of Incense".

Although the British Orthodox Church is a small community at present, it is committed to evangelism and wider ministry. Currently, the British Orthodox Church has 5,000 to 10,000 members who are served by 12 churches. [1]


Through the church press it publishes the 'Glastonbury Review', the only English language journal committed to regular reporting about the activities of the Oriental Orthodox churches and it has also begun to republish some important theological works. Through the internet, it maintains a number of international and ecumenical email discussion groups, as well as promoting the work of the Joint Commission for the Dialogue between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches through an important website.

Dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Anglican Communion takes place in the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission.


See also

External links

Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Oriental Orthodoxy
Autocephalous Churches
Alexandria | Antioch | Armenia | Eritrea | Ethiopia | India
Autonomous Churches
Alexandria: British Orthodox Church | French Orthodox Church

Antioch: Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church

Armenia: Catholicos of All Armenians | Cilicia | Constantinople | Jerusalem

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