Ilyan Eades

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The Very Reverend Fr Ilyan Eades is the rector of St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, Dunedin, New Zealand. He is an archpriest, serving in the Deanery of New Zealand in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania.


Alan Reginald Eades was born on November 18, 1946, to the family of an Anglican priest, Rev Reginald and Mrs Joan Eades. While training as nurses at Tauranga Hospital, Alan met his wife, Mary Joyselyn Coate (b. 14 Oct 1950), and they married on August 30, 1970. In 1973, Angelina was born (now married with three children); soon followed by Nicholas (~1976). On November 23, 1977, his father reposed.

On the 26th of March, 1978, Alan's family was received into the Orthodox Church by Fr Jack Witbrock in Auckland, and attended Orthodox services at either Antiochian and Greek Orthodox churches, depending on when they were scheduled.

During 1984, Alan accepted the call to the priesthood, and commenced supervised study and preparation. He was ordained by Bishop Gibran - to the diaconate on 26 September 1987, and to the priesthood on the 27th - and was given the name Ilyan, after St Ilian of Homs, Syria. Later, he would change his official name to Ilyan. Fr Ilyan's family moved from Te Awamutu, Waikato, to be the rector at St Ignatius, Auckland.

During his rectorate, the community began a charitable trust to legally administer the financial affairs of St Ignatius, and then secured a tenure of lease on the Hall of St Christopher. This was a former Anglican Sunday School hall that Rev. Reginald Eades had started in 1953, but now became the Orthodox Church of St Ignatius of Antioch in 1988, and was purchased outright in 1990. To support himself, Fr Ilyan worked part-time at Mercy Hospital, while Kh Joan worked at the local Anglican Geriatric Hospital.

Fr Ilyan's initial congregation was of some converts, and some New Zealand-born Lebanese and occaisional Greeks or Serbians. Relations with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand became most amicable out of difficulties in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Auckland, and Metropolitan Dionysios approached Bp Gibran to find some accommodation for Fr Michael Balafas at St Ignatius when he wanted to serve. Some more Greek Orthodox would begin attending St Ignatius services. Met Dionysios then made an arrangement with Bp Gibran where Fr Ilyan could go to Holy Trinity Church to conduct weddings, funerals and baptisms when needed.

After need was expressed from congregants of St Michael Orthodox Church, Dunedin, and after consultation with Bp Gibran and Fr Jack, Fr Ilyan left Auckland for Dunedin in late October 1992. After being billeted for 2 weeks, Fr Ilyan was able to rent, then buy, the house directly behind the church. Soon after this, Met Dionysios requested Fr Ilyan's help in looking after the Greek Community in Christchurch, who were currently priestless; so, until mid-1996, Fr Ilyan made monthly trips to Christchurch and, until 2004, to care for other centres (Auckland, Napier, Wellington) as requested.

Due to being the only Orthodox church in Dunedin & Southland, Fr Ilyan uses English, Greek and Slavonic in his services; and the lack in priest's salary means that Fr Ilyan continues to work for the IHC, caring for people with an intellectual disability; Kh. Joan, since changed to being a veterinary nurse, teaches at the Otago Polytechnic College.

Since 2004, due to a request from the Multi-Nations Council, Invercargill, for monthly Divine Liturgy there, Fr Ilyan has been so liturgising in a borrowed Anglican Church, near the airport. Met Paul has ordained Andrei Grenfell to the sub-diaconate, and is being prepared for the diaconate to assist with Dunedin and Invercargill.

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