"We recognise not the Tomos of autocephaly, but the right to grant it", the metropolitan said.
Hierotheos avoided directly answering a question whether this decision meant recognition of autocephaly, stressing that the synod recognised the patriarch's right to grant autocephaly.
Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, the vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, stated that the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate would assess the possible impact of the decision on the relations between the Church of Greece and the Russian Orthodox Church.
On 6 January, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople handed over the Tomos of autocephaly, a document that grants Orthodox churches autonomy, to the newly established Ukrainian church. The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, refused to recognize the establishment of the new church structure in Ukraine and Constantinople's decision to grant it autocephaly.
The Moscow Patriarchate described the situation as the "legalisation of schism," stressing that it would have catastrophic consequences and affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries.