The head of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a special day of prayer in response to a recent protest by a punk band in a cathedral.
The female band Pussy Riot took over a main cathedral in Moscow in February to sing their songs in protest of the church supporting president elect Vladimir Putin, Al Jazeera reports.
Three of the members of Pussy Riot remain under arrest, says a report by the BBC, but Al Jazeera notes through an opinion poll conducted last week that only 10 percent of those surveyed though the protesters should be jailed.
The church was able to gather people from all over the country for the planned day of prayer, but Al Jazeera suggests that it may just be a deflection technique.
"The church has managed to mobilize people from congregations all over the country here, to central moscow, to try and regain the moral high ground, but also in response to accusations that it has a very lavish lifestyle," said Sue Turton of Al Jazeera.
The BBC makes no mention of this possibility and lists the prayer meeting as solely in response to the Pussy Riot confrontation.