A religious scholar explains the meaning of elevating an Exarch of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine to the rank of Bishop
"Elevating in rank is not only another episode in the career of a young monk but also a certain sign that interchurch relations between Kyiv and Constantinople have reached a new level," religious scholar Dmytro Horyevoy said in a comment to Radio Svoboda (Liberty).
"First of all, such awards are given for career achievements. Promotion for personal achievements, as well as granting a broader mandate, and as a result, a credit of trust for further service in Ukraine. That is another official promotion for a conscientious figure.
Secondly, it is also a piece of definite evidence that relations between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are moving to a new level. Elevating an Exarch to the level of a bishop is a positive diplomatic gesture. It's like replacing the charge d'affaires with a full-fledged ambassador to international relations. That is a sign of friendly relations. The OCU is becoming a real strategic partner of the Ecumenical Patriarchate," Dmytro Horyevoy notes.
"In fact, elevation the Exarch in rank is a sign that the OCU has gained a foothold. It is not just some transitional church institution. This is a full-fledged autocephalous church, which also has a strategic partner in the form of the Ecumenical Patriarchate," the religious scholar concluded.
Exarch Mykhailo Anishchenko is an ethnic Ukrainian, he spent his childhood in Volhynia, studied in Athens, and served for the Ukrainian diaspora in Antalya, Turkey. In 2019, he was appointed the official representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine. He headed the Kyivan Stavropegia and the representative office located in St. Andrew's Church on Podil. Father Mykhailo continued the longstanding tradition of the Patriarchate of Constantinople - to appoint ethnic Ukrainians as exarchs.