Exarch. Title of a hierarch in the Eastern church since the time of the first ecumenical councils. An exarch is a patriarch’s representative with permanent functions, residing wherever he is sent by the patriarch. Usually his task has been to preserve a patriarch’s power over a church province that wants to secede. In the Byzantine Empire the title of exarch was often bestowed on a person who was given certain important temporary secular, as well as ecclesiastical, assignments. After the patriarchate in Russia was abolished, Metropolitan Stefan Yavorsky bore the title of exarch. In Ukraine in the second half of the 16th century, Patriarch Jeremiah II bestowed the title on the bishop of Lutsk, Kyrylo Terletsky, and ordered him to counteract Metropolitan Mykhailo Rahoza’s plans for a church union with Rome (see Church Union of Berestia). Metropolitan Petro Mohyla also bore the title of exarch. In 1921–37 the autonomous Orthodox church in Ukraine formed an exarchate. Its exarchs were Archbishop M. Yermakov and Metropolitan K. Diakov.
The Kyiv metropolitan of the present Russian Orthodox church has the title ‘patriarchal exarch of Ukraine,’ but there are no jurisdictional functions associated with the title. The following have held the office of exarch of Ukraine: I. Sokolov (1944–64), Y. Deliukhin (1964–6), and Filaret Denysenko (after 1966).
The Ukrainian-Catholic bishops in the United States, Canada, and South America at first held the title of exarch (of Stamford, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia) and exercised the ordinary eparchial powers over their congregations. These powers were granted to them by the pope as the universal patriarch of the Catholic church. Apostolic exarchates for Catholics of the Eastern rite were established in Great Britain in 1957, in Argentina in 1958, in West Germany in 1959, and in France in 1960.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]