Pope Benedict XVI appointed Venice patriarch Cardinal Angelo Scola as archbishop of Milan on Tuesday, moving him to a high profile position in the Italian Catholic church.
The 69-year-old Scola is a theologian like Benedict and is considered one of his closest advisers among Italian prelates. He is known for his outreach to Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities.
Scola was considered a possible contender for the papacy when Benedict was elected in 2005, especially since Venice produced three 20th-century popes.
Milan is Europe's largest archdiocese, Italy's financial capital and a major cultural center.
Scola made the announcement himself in Venice, saying "it's not easy for me to give you this news. I accepted the decision of the pope because he's the pope."
In Milan he succeeds the 77-year-old Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, who retired for reason of age.