Nicholas granted the request and the name change was speedily processed, suggesting that the Tsar viewed — and treated — Rasputin favorably at that time. He soon became a controversial figure; he was accused by his enemies of religious heresy and rape, was suspected of exerting undue political influence over the tsar, and was even rumored to be having an affair with the Tsarina. Petersburg in , alternative religious movements such as spiritualism and theosophy had become increasingly popular among the city's aristocracy, and many of them were intensely curious about the occult and the supernatural more generally. He did not fit in with the royal family, and he and the Russian Orthodox Church had a very strained relationship. The Holy Synod frequently attacked Rasputin, accusing him of a variety of immoral or evil practices. Because Rasputin was a court official, though, he and his apartment were under hour surveillance, and, accordingly, there exists some credible evidence about his lifestyle in the form of the famous "staircase notes" — reports from police spies , which were not given only to the Tsar but also published in newspapers.