Humans of the North-East Inner-City: Fr. Anish

A smiling man in his all black priestly Indian Orthodox garb
Fr. Anish John is the Indian Orthodox Priest for the Parish worshipping at Cathal Burgha St. George Street’, a Migrant and a Father.


‘In the Indian Orthodox tradition, we can marry. So I have a wife, working in the hospital and two wonderful kids, who just moved here in 2022. I moved to Ireland in 2017 primarily to do my PhD at Maynooth while also being the parish priest here for the Orthodox community, who worship in the city centre. It’s the Church of Ireland church, and we rent from them. I came to a place which was very different, very strange for me in 2017. Then, my wife came in as an international student. She studied in Letterkenny, a Master’s while I was living and working in the parish in Dublin. So, we were in two different places for a couple of years, and then she got a job and moved to Dublin. As a family, our hope would be settling down and having our own house, because, as you know, the rents are crazy. For the church, our dreams and hope for the city is for a reduction in the tensions that are there now, existing. I can feel that in the air, you know, when you go out to the city when you interact with people, and there’s the feel of hate towards the other, and the strangeness that there is around migrants. That needs to come down. I serve a parish where the migrant community is largely employed with the healthcare sector. Most of the Parishioners, with whom I interact day in and out are nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals and students. During the riots, I remember that the church was closed for a couple of weeks. We didn’t use the parish. We thought it was not safe to do. We didn’t worship for two Sundays because we were right in the middle of the city. So it’s not a very safe thing to do with so many people from the migrant community coming together in that place. But I would always try to highlight the best that the city can offer. So, the connectivity and the pool of people from diverse religious traditions and cultures who come into the city is the highlight for me, rather than the other aspects of the riots that have happened in the past and stuff like that. So there’s a pool of rich, diverse religions and cultures that you can sense that you can engage with while you’re in the city. That’s something, which is a highlight. And we are an example as a migrant community, using a Church of Ireland church for such a long time. There’s an element of sharing, you know, the sacred space as well. So that itself gives a great message of community being together, different cultures. Integration, which is happening in the inner city. is very evident. You walk through the inner city, and you can see this.’