8 September 2018 at the end of the interview in live TV channel “Russia 24” Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, made a statement to the media. Metropolitan Hilarion said:
The Patriarchate of Constantinople announced yesterday that directs two of his exarchs, that is of special envoys to Kiev. Today the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church made a statement which pointed out the illegality of this step. The direction of the exarchs (special representatives) or any other representatives that the Local Church can be accomplished only with the consent of the Local Church. There was no treatment of the Patriarch of Constantinople nor the Patriarch of Moscow, nor to his Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv Onufry, which Patriarch Bartholomew has repeatedly and publicly acknowledged the only canonical head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The act committed in violation of Church canons, and it cannot go unanswered. We hope that Constantinople will reconsider this decision, if this does not happen, we will have to find the appropriate solutions to make reciprocal steps.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople now claims that the special representatives will be appointed to work on the completion of the project to grant autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, which was announced back in April and they now want to finish. What this means from our point of view? This means, above all, the legitimization of a split in Ukraine, because the autocephaly expect only the dissenters, and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which unites the majority of Orthodox believers of Ukraine (more than 12 thousand parishes, more than 200 monasteries), didn’t ask about any of autocephaly, neither of which independence. On the contrary, to the bishops ‘ conference of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, held recently, a consensus was reached that status, which the Church has is optimal for her. And this is the status of self-governing Churches in the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople, therefore, now openly on the warpath. And this war is not only against the Russian Church, not only against the Ukrainian Orthodox people. This is a war, essentially, against the unity of the world Orthodoxy.
Because if this, I would say, cowardly and treacherous project will be completed, the majority of Orthodox believers of Ukraine will not accept the autocephaly. The Russian Orthodox Church does not accept this decision. We will have to break off communication with Constantinople, and then Constantinople would have no rights to claim the leadership in the Orthodox world. Now the Patriarchate of Constantinople has positioned itself as a leader of 300 million Orthodox population of the planet, the Patriarch of Constantinople is perceived as almost an Orthodox Pope. But at least half of that 300 million people will no longer recognize it even the first in the family of Orthodox Churches.
I think that for this act the Patriarch Bartholomew will bear personal responsibility before God and before the court of history.