In any overall assessment of the changing relationship between the church and the state in late imperial Russia it is important to include an account of the thought and activity of Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev. Although not a clergyman, he was probably the most visible of all Orthodox Church figures of the period, both in the empire and in Western Europe. As the emperor's Ober Procurator of the Most Holy Governing Synod, a post he occupied between 1880 and 1905, he was the perfectly placed official to represent the power of the Romanov government in church affairs and, in its turn, the will and needs of the church to the emperor and his chief councilors of state. Nor, in this case, was it merely the office that made the man. Pobedonostsev himself was a thoughtful and critical student of Western and Russian culture who used his authority in a way that fulfilled his own visions and not the whims of the tsar. He was not a Count Protasov, the loyal Ober Procurator of Nicholas I, and he insisted that the office of Ober Procurator stand equally in the high councils of the tsar along with all other government ministries. Finally, it must be added that Pobedonostsev revealed in his thought and in his public acts a consistent body of religious and political opinion that enjoyed a respectable following among the so-called conservatives of the educated classes, and he was known and admired in this company both for the views he espoused and for the enemies he made.