Concepts of the "West" in Eastern Europe*
In the modern period, for eastern Christianity "the west" has been a foil which served to differentiate and distance. The historical roots of this differentiation go back to the beginnings of the divergence between the Christian east and west. For centuries, there was almost no contact between Byzantium and Rome. In Russia, the "Slavophiles" and the "Westernizers" of the 19th century were a manifestation of the long-running debate about the direction of Russia. In the Balkans, nationally-oriented, anti-western theological positions emerged. The insight which emerged in the 20th century that the west also influences anti-western positions and the dissolution of the hard divide between the "east" and the "west" have led to a restructuring of Orthodox theology, which also holds the potential of an opening up.