Supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church have taken part in a public display of solidarity in the capital Moscow.
It follows criticism of the Patriarch’s support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, after widespread allegations of fraud in a parliamentary poll.
The Church issued a statement earlier this month saying it was under attack from “anti-Russian” forces.
“People decided on their own to express their religious solidarity, and this is very good,” said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church.
“We should not answer evil with evil, we should not answer agression with agression. We should answer the accusations against the church in a wise and kind way,” he continued.
The spotlight has also been turned on the Church because of a lawsuit involving an apartment and the doctoring of an official picture of its leader in which a luxury watch was airbrushed out.
“There is no reason to make a fuss,” said one supporter taking part in the rallies.
“If the Patricarch is guilty of something, his expensive watch, his apartment affairs, if he is legally punishable, then the courts should solve the issue. If he can’t be punished by the law, then there will be divine punishment.”
Bikers participating in the rallies rode through the streets to show their backing for the Church.
Slogans such as “Take your hands off the Patriarch” and “Glory to Russia” were shouted out during the action.