Discover the "Heaven Ceiling" of Ipswich

POSTED ON: 20/03/2019

A unique story and awe-inspiring design in the heart of Ipswich.


We spoke to Father John, the priest at Ipswich Orthodox Church, about coming to Ipswich and creating the "Heaven Ceiling" - one of the town's most unique spectacles. 


The Heaven Ceiling at the Ipswich Orthodox Church on Curriers Lane, was created by a team of local craftspeople including carpenters, blacksmiths and an iconographer; who hand-painted all the images and masterminded the project.

It's a real spectacle, full of archangels and the seraphim (from the Prophecy of Isaiah). There’s the icon of Christ Pantocrator (meaning “Christ, the ruler of all”) in the centre and you can see the four evangelists at each corner. You can only really experience how meaningful it is when you visit and stand underneath it for yourself; and the craftsmanship can be appreciated even if you're not religious.


Father John: "I first moved to the area in the late 70’s. My father was a few years off retirement and he loved sailing, so being near the Orwell was ideal. We’ve lived in lots of other places but my wife and I came back to this area about 11 years ago.   Then we were using a church in nearby Freston village for our services and we saw that this church in Ipswich only had a Sunday evening service each week."  

"We came to an arrangement with them that we would use the church on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. After about a year of working with our “church in a box” format, they asked us if we’d like to take over the Mission building, as they could no longer continue. We remain forever grateful to them for their generosity to us."


Father John: "Primarily we serve the Orthodox faithful in Ipswich, but at the same time the nature of our faith is that we are here to reach out to everybody and anybody. Orthodoxy is the original Christian Faith and encompassed everybody in the British Isles for the first thousand years, so we are happy to welcome all kinds of people from lots of different backgrounds and places." 

"The nature of the Faith is that we want to explore and share the Orthodox Faith with anyone who shows interest."     

"We’ve had visitors here from abroad and a place they like to gravitate to is our unique Ipswich Waterfront as it is very attractive. My father always used to tell me about the Thames barges and how they were constructed for shallow waters like the Orwell. He’d like those. The maritime history of this town is very important and so interesting."    

Visitors are welcome to experience the Heaven Ceiling; as this is a church and the “house of God”, all we’d ask is that people are respectful. You’ll find their service times at ipswichorthodoxchurch.com.  


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