The church is separate from the state in Russia, the Constitution says. But the Federal Guard Service has its own understanding of what that implies, as it treats Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill as a de-facto state official, according to the Orthodox Church Info blog.
The agency, which is responsible for the security of senior officials, provides its services to Kirill free of charge.
Kirill -- who presides over the biggest religious community in Russia -- also enjoys the right to use a car with a flashing blue light, which allows his vehicle to avoid being stuck in Moscow traffic jams.
The Orthodox patriarch is the only head of a major religious denomination in Russia with such privileges.