"The most useful thing for peace in the [Orthodox] church, its unity… would be to stop and postpone this [unification] process until the Ukrainian problem is studied and a pan-Orthodox solution is found. Therefore, we ask your All Holiness to urge your brothers, the primates of Orthodox churches, to study these issues in order to protect our church from dangers that will not lead to peace and harmony either in Ukraine or in the Orthodox world", the patriarch's letter was quoted as saying by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In mid-December, a unification council was held in Kiev at the initiative of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew, during which Epiphany Dumenko was elected head of the new autocephalous church.
The new church united the two previously non-canonical structures. The council was attended by only two UOC-MP bishops, who were later defrocked by their church, which officially refused to participate in the event.
The Russian Orthodox Church has refused to recognize the results of the unification council and Constantinople's decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian church, insisting that Constantinople legalized schism and adding that the day when the Tomos was signed was a "tragic" one for the global Orthodoxy.