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 and his future wife, Mary Joyselyn Coate (b. 14 Oct 1950) met, and were married on August 30, 1970. In 1973, Angelina was born (now married with three children), soon followed by Nicholas (~1976). On November 23, 1977, Alan's father reposed.

On 26 March 1978, Alan and family were received into the Orthodox Church by Fr Jack Witbrock in Auckland, and attended Orthodox services at either the Antiochian or Greek Orthodox churches, depending on when services 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 as priest on the 27th. Bp Gibran gave him the name Ilyan, after St Ilian of Homs, Syria. Later, he changed his official name to Ilyan. Fr Ilyan moved with his family 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 parish 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 occasional Greeks and Serbs. Relations with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand became most amicable after difficulties in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Auckland, caused Metropolitan Dionysios to approach Bp Gibran to find some accommodation for Fr Michael Balafas at St Ignatius when he wanted to serve. Some more Greek Orthodox then began attending St Ignatius services. Met Dionysios made reciprocal arrangements with Bp Gibran for Fr Ilyan to attend 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 consultations between 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 without a priest. 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. The lack of priest's salary means that Fr Ilyan continues to work for the IHC, caring for people with an intellectual disability. Kh. Joan, changed to veterinary nursing and teaches at the Otago Polytechnic College.

Since 2004, due to a request from the Multi-Nations Council, Invercargill, for monthly Divine Liturgy, Fr Ilyan also celebrates liturgy there in a borrowed Anglican Church near the airport. In May 2005 Met Paul ordained Andrei Grenfell to the sub-diaconate. He is being prepared for the diaconate by Fr Ilyan to assist with Dunedin and Invercargill. Andrei is also studying externally at St Sergius Orthodox Institute Paris.

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