The Ecumenical Patriarchate has begun preparations to grant independence to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from Russia, it said Friday.
In a statement, the patriarchate named two representatives who will be dispatched to discuss the process of autocephaly of Kiev from Moscow.
The issue has been a source of friction between Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill since April.
The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate is the first-ranking church in Eastern Orthodoxy and the sole authority that can grant a church autocephaly.
However, Moscow has warned that the issue could lead to a schism. The two patriarchs met earlier in September in a bid to bridge the gap but to no avail.