Istanbul, October 7, 2020
The Exarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople serving in Kiev on the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will soon be consecrated to the episcopate.
At its session in Istanbul yesterday, the Constantinople Holy Synod elected Archimandrite Michael (Anischenko) to the episcopate, with the title “of Komanon,” reports the Patriarchal press service.
Bishop-elect Michael, a native of Ukraine, will continue his ministry in Kiev following his consecration.
He studied at the Volyn Theological Seminary of the canonical Ukrainian Church and served for many years in Lutsk in a parish of the canonical Church. He later studied in Greece and then served in the Constantinople parish in Antalya. In January of last year, he was appointed head of Constantinople’s stavropegial institutions in Ukraine, serving in Kiev’s St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which was transferred to Constantinople by Poroshenko’s government in November 2018.
Before Fr. Michael, Constantinople sent Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon of the Ukrainian Church in America and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from the Ukrainian Church in Canada as its Exarchs to Ukraine in September 2018 to help prepare for the “unification council” that took place on December 15, where the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” was created.
In response to this violation of Ukrainian Church territory, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox resolved to suspend commemoration of Patriarch Bartholomew in the Divine services and concelebration with Constantinople hierarchs. Constantinople continued its anti-canonical intrusion that October when it unilaterally lifted the anathema against the Ukrainian schismatics and entered into communion with them, after which the Russian Synod resolved to fully break Eucharistic Communion with Constantinople.
On December 13 that year, just two days before the “unification council” and one month before Fr. Michael was appointed to Kiev, Constantinople encroached upon the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church again, this time with Bp. Ilarion of Edmonton celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Andrew’s Church, where Fr. Michael now serves, without the blessing of the canonical presiding hierarch, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations responded, saying these “actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in general and the actions of Bishop Ilarion in particular should be regarded as anti-canonical and leading to a deepening of the conflict.”
At its session yesterday, the Synod of Constantinople also confirmed the election of 3 auxiliary bishops for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America— Archimandrite Spyridon Kezios as an auxiliary bishop for Archbishop Elpidophoros, Archimandrite John Constantine for Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Archimandrite Timothy Bakakos for Metropolitan Nathanel of Chicago—who had been elected by GOARCH’s Eparchial Synod on September 28.