His Beatitude Sawa (Hrycuniak), Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland celebrates Sunday his 39th episcopal consecration anniversary.
His Beatitude Sawa is the current head of the autocephalous Church of Poland. He is the eighth hierarch to head the Polish church since it was granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1924. As Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, his see is in Warsaw at the Cathedral of Mary Magdalen Equal to the Apostles.
Born on April 15, 1938, in Sniatycze (near Zamosc), Michael Hrycuniak completed a spiritual seminary and then enrolled in a Master of Arts in Theological Studies in 1957, graduating in 1961.
Michal began lecturing at the Orthodox Spiritual Seminary in Warsaw in 1961, and since 1962 he lectured at the Christian Theological Academy (ChAT) something he has continued to do to this day. In 1964, Michal was ordained to the diaconate. In 1966, Dcn Michal received his Ph.D. in Theology from the Orthodox Theologic Faculty of the University of Belgrade, after which he was tonsured with the name Sawa.
In the same year, Hdcn Sawa was ordained to the priesthood and was made director of the office of the Metropolitan of Warsaw. Fr Sawa was elevated to archimandrite in 1970, and was named prior of St Onufry Monastery, Jableczna.
On the basis of his qualifying thesis, Archim. Sawa became a reader of Orthodox dogmatic theology, and received a Ph.D. in Orthodox dogmatic theology. He was also appointed to the Chair of Dogmatic and Moral Theology at the Christian Theological Academy. In 1979, Archim. Sawa stopped lecturing at the Orthodox Spiritual Seminary in Warsaw. In the same year, Archim. Sawa was consecrated to the episcopacy as head of the Lodz-Poznan diocese. In 1981, he was transferred to the Bialystok-Gdansk diocese. In 1987, Bp Sawa was elevated to Archbishop.
In 1990, the president of the Republic of Poland nominated Abp Sawa to be a professor of theology; since March of that year, he has held the Orthodox Theology Chair at the University of Bialystok. In 1994, having formed the Orthodox Ordinariate of the Polish Army, under the blessing of the Holy Synod, he was nominated by the Minister of National Defence as the Elder of Orthodox Ordinariate of the Polish Army, entitled a Field Bishop. In 1996, he was made a brigadier-general.
In 1998, he ceased his role in the Polish army. In January, due to an illness suffered by Metropolitan Bazyli, the Holy Synod made Archbishop Sawa the Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan throne. On May 12, 1998, the Holy Synod unanimously elected Archbishop Sawa as Archbishop of Warsaw, Metropolitan of All Poland. The enthronement took place on May 31, 1998.