Ilyan Eades

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


V. Rev. Fr Ilyan Eades

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 Joycelyn Coate (b. October 14, 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 March 26, 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 September 26, 1987, and as priest on September 27. 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 tenure, 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 Mary 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. Metr. 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, Metr. 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 and Southland, Fr. Ilyan used English, Greek and Church-Slavonic in his services. The lack of priest's salary meant that Fr. Ilyan continued to work for the IHC, caring for people with an intellectual disability, until forced to retire due to ilness in 2009. Kh. Mary, changed to veterinary nursing and teaches at the Otago Polytechnic College.

Fr Ilyan Reposed in the Lord, 18th March 2010.

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