Russian Orthodox Church against becoming state religion

Moscow, Russia - The Moscow Patriarchate's position on what relations between the state and the Church should be is invariable, it said.

"We do not want the (Church) to become part of the state apparatus, state machinery, to assume secular functions," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said.

He was commenting on a poll conducted by the Sreda agency along with the Public Opinion foundation of 1,500 people across 44 Russian regions, 100 towns and villages. According to the poll, 30% of Russians want Orthodoxy to become the state religion, 48% are against it and 23% did not have an opinion about it.

The system of church-state relations in Russia has not changed over the past decade, both from the point of view of secular laws and the Church's decisions, the priest said.

"The fact that the Church is growing and becoming more active by no means implies a review in its position on relations between the state and religion," he said, adding that the Church is not trying to substitute some state or form some politicized ideology.