The head of the Russian Orthodox Church says the church should make greater use of the Internet to get its message to the people.
"We have no right not to be where our flock is or might be -- and our flock today, in fact the most active part of our flock, is on social networks," Patriarch Kirill told senior clerics of Russia's dominant church on April 29.
Kirill said that many people's lives are now focused heavily on the Internet even though it is "not the most trustworthy and deep source of information."
Kirill has come under fire online over what critics say is excessive interest in temporal matters and involvement in politics, including vocal support for President Vladimir Putin.
He suggested the church should use the Internet to combat such perceptions, saying that if members of the flock are disturbed by "some events, including in the life of the church, this raises the question of...how active we are in explaining the church's position."
More than two-thirds of Russian citizens describe themselves as Russian Orthodox, but only a small fraction go to church regularly.
Based on reporting by Interfax