Now, please be kind because I have litte to no knowledge about the nature of Church and state relations in Russia. However, based on my perception from what I have seen here on this board, perhaps you can clear up some issues for me. First, from what I have seen and what I have been told, secularism has quite a stronghold in Russia, as a small minority attend Church every Sunday, whether they are Orthodox or not. However, on the flip side, it appears that the state and the Church have a profoundly strong relationship, and that the Russian Church exercises great influence over the affairs of the state. Again I could be wrong, but this is how I perceive it (NOTE: I think it's a good thing that the Russian Orthodox Church has great influence over the state). That being said, it appears to be a great contradiction: A population that lives highly secular lives and very close relationship between the state and the Church. Can some one help to understand how these opposing forces affect the situation in Russia? How did the Church attain such influence in this climate?