Ecumenical Patriarchate
Archdiocese of Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe
Worshipping at St Thomas a Becket’s Church
Cliffe High Street, LEWES BN7 2AW

Father Ian

Rector of the Parish: Rev Fr Ian Wallis, B.Ed.

Father Ian tells about himself:

I was born in Brighton in 1953, and educated locally, graduating from the University of Sussex in 1977 with an Honours Degree in Education and Religious Studies.  I was baptized as an infant in the local parish of the Church of England, but not confirmed until 1971.

It was while I was studying for my Degree that I first met Father Sergei Hackel (the first Rector of the Parish of the Nativity of Christ) when he was Reader in Russian Studies at the University of Sussex. 

After graduating, I moved to London, and attended services at the Cathedral of the Dormition and All Saints, in Knightsbridge; and I was received into the Orthodox Church at the Cathedral in 1978.

When I returned to live in Brighton, I became a member of Father Sergei’s parish, and was subsequently elected Churchwarden.  I was appointed a Reader to the Parish in 2001, having assisted in the celebration of services, by singing and serving, for a number of years.

After Father Sergei’s death (in 2005) the Parish was assigned to the care of Archpriest Alexander Fostiropoulos.  Father Alexander had responsibilities elsewhere (besides Lewes) and needed someone who lived locally to share his pastoral role, with a view to taking over from him completely; so after due consideration, I was ordained  to the diaconate on 21st May 2005, and to the priesthood on 19th November 2006. 

I was the Assistant Priest in the Parish for two years, and throughout that time the aim had been for me to get enough experience and training (including passing the Driving Test!) for me to succeed Father Alexander as Rector.  When Bishop Basil of Amphipolis visited the Parish on 7th December 2008, he told us that both he and Father Alexander felt confident that I should be Rector, in place of Father Alexander, and this was subsequently confirmed by a Decree of the Archdiocese dated 8th December 2009.