The eastward expansion of the European Union, which started in 1989-90, has given greater depth and meaning to the process of unification and revived the dialogue between Eastern and Western Europe, after decades of separation. This process has brought to light both a multitude of common features and many pronounced differences. Will Europeans in the future share a common home, or will Europe be at best a population area with no clear plan, where each nation builds a state in accordance with its own national customs? Will a common European culture provide the basis for individual States and the Community in the East and West of Europe? Or is this shared cultural memory merely an aspiration, a signpost to the future, or a dream, unlikely to take shape in reality?
What is Europe?
In geographical terms, Europe was never a separate continent. Its unity is a consequence of history. The boundaries of Europe to the east and the south were always blurred: from the spatial point of view, Europe is a peninsula of the Eurasian continent, while in terms of geomorphology it is closely connected with Africa. The eastern boundary of Europe is usually drawn along the Ural ridge, then along the northern shore of the Caspian and the eastern shore of the Sea of Azov as far as the Gulf of Kerch. Russia and Turkey project into Europe, however the major part of their territory is situated in Asia.
The name Europe derives from mythology. According to the legend recounted by Herodotus, Zeus, having transformed himself into a bull, abducted the daughter of the Phoenician king, Europa, and transported her to Crete. Thanks to Isidore of Seville, the myth (whose sources pre-date the Grecian era), found its way into mediaeval textbooks. From Renaissance times onward, the abduction of Europa became a favourite theme of artists. As a symbolic representation of one of the smallest parts of the world, the image of Europa on the swimming bull has endured to the present day.
Even in antiquity, the story of Europa was already linked with geographical ideas. The division of the inhab-ited world, the oikumen, into two parts: Europe and Asia (which were considered to be islands) can already be found in the Ionian maps of the 6th century BC. In Christian times, the biblical ideas of the origin of people and the division of the world into parts were added to these notions. About 400 AD, “Europe” began to be used as the name for the territories of the Roman Empire situated in the northern zone of the Mediterranean region, as opposed to its Asian and African parts. In France, this name began to be used for the northern Alpine zone, inhabited by Christians and famous for its saints. Since the 7th century, the biblical legend of Japheth (Genesis 9-10) has been interpreted as referring to Europe: Shem received Asia from Noah, Ham Asia and Japheth Europe.
From its very beginning, Europe afforded favourable external conditions for the life and development of the individual and of society. Here were no abrupt climatic shifts, and no significant areas taken up by deserts, steppes or wastelands. The Southern, Western and Northern parts of Europe were characterised by their complex configuration: hardly any other part of the Earth ’s surface has such an extended shoreline or such a close connection with the sea. Goods of the most varied kind, produced in different geographical climate zones, stimulated the people to engage in barter and trade, and to strive towards the division of labour. Population density was always high. In Europe, a multitude of peoples existed in a relatively narrow space. All this facilitated the gradual transformation of Europe over hundreds of years into a centre of science, economics and civilisation, in that part of the world in which “in an extremely confined space, the most powerful force of human experience became concentrated ” (V.Schultz).
The way was paved for this development by the Mediterranean cultures of antiquity. Even then, in spite of their spatial proximity, the feeling arose that “East” and “West” were different worlds. In his tragedy The Persians, Aeschylus describes the Greeks in the following words: “they are slaves to no one among the people, and there is no one among the people whom they serve ”. But Hero-dotus recounts that Solon astonished the Lydian king Croesus by going to the Near East “with philosophical aims”, in other words purely with the aim of discovery. Here we already discern the basic features of the European attitude to the world: in the field of politics it is the freedom of people with equal rights, (in contrast to the relationships of dominion and slavish submission in eastern realms). In the field of science and philosophy it is the free aspiration to discover the world and extend knowledge (in contrast to the Eastern wisdom and self-contemplation). The contrast extends right down to the details of behaviour: on the one hand a journey of experiencing and enquiry, on the other meditation and stillness while remaining in one place (K. L öwith). Hence the way of life which is adopted by mobile, inventive, adaptable people is regarded as European; it is defined by the joy of discovery and a rational outlook on the world. It is a way of life in which the individual means more than the mass, and freedom more than power.
Because of the external conditions of Europe, and to a still greater extent the internal attitude of Europeans, Europe has constantly resisted alien attempts to determine her life, and to subject her to external power. Through the centuries, she successfully repulsed a multitude of conquerors from the East and the Southeast (Persians, Huns, Mongols, Turks). However, the hegemonistic tendencies within Europe itself were also never long-lasting: this applies both to the attempt to create a Hapsburg empire in the 16th century, and to the later ambitions of Louis XIV, the French revolution and Napoleon, to say nothing of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin in the 20th century. The Romans and the successors to their Empire, the Franks, and the Germans of the Holy Roman Empire, were able to leave a lasting mark in history insofar as they succeeded in creating not simply a power structure, but also judicial structures and civilised forms of life. The world of the European states was always more pluralistic and diverse than that of its neighbours: the Byzantines, Mongols, Osman Turks and Great Russians. Beside the great empires and nations in the European structure, there were always small countries, city-states and federal groupings. Smallness is a typical aspect of European life. “All that is colossal and uniform is definitely not European, and therein lies the secret of all the refinement and uniqueness of European civilisation ” (O. Halecki).
Right up to the First World War, the system of European states was the centre of world politics. Only the USA and Japan had status similar to that of the European powers. After 1918, the situation changed. With revolutionary Russia and the missionary democratic America (Woodrow Wilson: “To make the world safe for democracy”), Europe’s suc-cess passed into world history. Then the policies of Hitler and Stalin, and also the Second World War, finally destroyed the already disastrously weakened Europe. After 1945 it was divided for the first time in its history and for a long time lost its political competence. In the East –West conflict, the frontier ran through the middle of Europe between the two blocs, while Africa and Asia finally freed themselves from European dominance, and the colonial empires of the English, French, Dutch, Belgians and Portuguese began to disintegrate.
In fact, not even this prolonged period of decline could break the political and spiritual dynamic of Europe. In the West in 1951 at the initiative of Robert Schuman, Conrad Adenauer and Alcide de Gasperi, the process of economic, and later political, co-operation began with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Association, the European Economic Association and Euratom. In 1967, the merger of these three associations created the “European Community”. This was vested with organs of executive power (the Council of Ministers and the Commission), judicial power and legislative powers were introduced and, from 1979, a directly elected Parliament with partial, but progressively growing powers. By the end of 1992, the creation of a European Common Market was complete, and in the 1990s by virtue of the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam the first binding plans for the construction of the “European home” were worked out. The European Community became the European Union (EU). This movement, combined with the movements for liberation in central and eastern Europe, initiated by Poland, lead up to the fall (1989 –1991) of Communist rule and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Thus the division of Europe caused by the polarisation of world politics came to an end, and the possibility of supranational co-operation, and economic and political integration opened up for the eastern part of Europe as well. Nevertheless, despite some very promising initiatives – the West European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Human Rights Convention, and the like – a state of independent political competence has been attained neither in Eastern nor in Western Europe. The EU commission for joint external policy and security and the rapid reaction force as its most important instrument (planned for 2003) are still under development, and the “high-ranking person” who is to represent both (Javier Solana) is for the present a king without a kingdom.
Does a European culture exist?
Again and again the question arises as to what is the basis of the European identity. Clearly it is not political structures, since although the division into East and West is now in the past, and the European Union, at least in the west, north and south of Europe, has developed stable forms of co-operation, Europe, even now, does not have the instruments that ensure united political activity. In a “Europe of nations”, the central pivot of politics has not yet taken on a final, stable form. Rather, certain elements of the European identity are appearing in the process of economic integration. It is not by chance that the most visible sign of European union is the euro, and not the European army. However, the most important element of the European identity is still its culture. The following words are attributed to Jean Monnet: if work on the unification of Europe had to be started all over again, it would have to start with culture.
But what is European culture? It cannot be reduced to a simple denominator, indeed it cannot be reduced to one denominator at all. Its characteristic feature is diversity, not uniformity. In Europe there is not one language, one way of life and thought or one cultural orientation; there is a multitude of them. It is necessary to define the concept of European culture. First of all, a distinction must be drawn between two aspects. On the one hand the cultural capital that was developed over the course of centuries in Europe and spread across the world (so that it is now no longer specifically European!). On the other the newly-minted “European culture” that is starting to develop in the present day in response to and in opposition to the globalised world.
– in the first case, European initiatives changed the world, they led to the merging of separate cultures, replacing the histories of the peoples of the continent by a “world history of Europe”;
– in the second case, the formation of a single world network of politics, economics and culture highlights certain elements of European culture that do not readily fit into globalisation and reveals their uniqueness more consciously and clearly.
As regards the first case: There is no doubt that Europe in many ways served as the test bench for the modern world. Many rational structures of the global One World are of European origin. The commanding relationship of man to nature, the transition from horticultural and agricultural settlement to movement for conscious change and reorganisation, the development of long-distance trade, of technology, mass production, the emergence of a scientific culture, but also a culture of memory: all these are European achievements. Throughout the world, space and time are measured by methods developed and refined in Europe (partly with reliance on early Jewish and Near Eastern sources): the day, hour, week, month, calendar, and the decimal units for measurement of distance (the standard metre in Paris!). The nature of the modernised world could briefly be described as follows: power over space and time, taming of nature and the development of individual freedom. The response to this movement has been worldwide, and its triumphal progress is as yet by no means over.
However, the European experiment also gave rise to specific political structures. Europe became the first testing ground for the “proper order” in Christianity. The Christian tradition not only gave nature into man’s hands, it also freed humanity from the pressure of the united religio-political culture of antiquity. The modern dualism of Church and State (spheres of politics and spheres of conscience) appeared long before the Enlightenment: with Saint Augustine, in the mediaeval teaching on the two powers, in the struggle for investiture and in the first concordat in world history (the Diet of Worms of 1122). With amazement, people found that they were living in the one Christendom, but under two legal systems which agreed to exist independently even though they sometimes entered into dispute. Already, the world no longer turned about a single axis. Ceasing to be an all-powerful fate, politics became a human problem, which had to be solved afresh each time: it became the concern of man.
In Europe, a united, binding culture formed, which operates to this day, based on the Christian tradition and the formal strength of Roman law. Historically, it arose mainly as a counterweight to the development of state and national power, as a calmer of passions and as a contribution to the peaceful continuance of policy. The rule of force was restrained, and long-term peace treaties and rough outlines of common law were adopted (prohibition of killing of prisoners of war, equality of monarchs and states, the start of integration of territorial communities, etc.).
Despite becoming Christian and sharing common cultures (knighthood) and common enterprises (crusades), Europe remained full of internal tension; it did not settle either into theocracy, nor into Byzantine forms of caesaropapism. From the mediaeval struggle of the universal powers, no new “third Rome” arose; instead, modern peoples and states became heirs to the Roman universalism. In the association of European states that formed in the late Middle Ages, the features of modern national and multinational states can already be recognised. The spread of European achievements across the world was the work of nations (the Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch and French), mutually inspired by a variety of motives: missionary work, searches for an eastern kingdom, ambition to discover and conquer the world, self-interest and the love of power. Thus arose the European Atlantic space, unified by transport and trading routes: from the peril-filled ocean of the Middle Ages, the Atlantic became a normal sea route for the Europeans.
The Europe of the new era formed under the influence of the Christian tradition. However by this time the confessional schism had already taken place; it consti-tuted a civilised association, albeit constantly shaken by the rivalry of states and by wars between them. An increa-singly united “Eurocentric” view of history forms, a “law of civilised states”, and also a common rational European way of thought and technology. At the same time this awakens a striving for both liberation and self-determination among the subject peoples. Colonialism, the spread of European civilisation, the development of diplomatic relations and the establishment of international law – all these established in the course of the last few centuries a world system of states, in which the dynamic of Europe is becoming a global dynamic, enveloping the whole world. As the old empires end their existence in the annals of history, first European, and then global, associations of states signify the start of a process of universal interpenetration of peoples and nations. What is referred to today as globalisation – the appearance of a worldwide market in communications, transport, trade and capital – is merely the end point of this development.
In fact, the completion of the “Europeanisation of the world” is giving rise to new problems, which are in turn having their effects on life in the Old World. After the European expansion across the world, will the “self-Europeanisation of the Europeans” begin? Will European culture, having imposed its law on the world, now in turn become a counterweight to the globalised world?
As regards the second case: Globalisation means that “East” and “West” in their old sense disappear. The place of the bipolar world is taken by the multipolar world. Alongside the one remaining superpower, the United States, other centres of power are forming: China, Japan, India, the Arab World and, by no means in last place, Europe. While in the USA the former “global dynamic” is still far from exhausted (a symbol of this is the computer revolution spreading out from America), in Europe it is encountering ever increasing opposition and doubts. Already today, the list of transatlantic disputes appears depressingly long: from the Kyoto protocol to the treaty on the cessation of atomic weapons testing; from the International Court to the prohibition of biological weapons; from gun control and the control of land mines to differences over capital punishment, integration of minorities, state education systems and the social role of the state. It is true that we are not talking of a serious estrangement between Europe and America. The range of mutually coinciding interests is as a great as ever and will remain so in the future. Nonetheless a marked difference in accent is still apparent. The culture of the US is above all oriented towards its own strengths, in the process rejecting multilateral agreements where they might restrict the development of strictly national advantages. The culture of Europe conversely is more inclined to community, to the obligations called for by solidarity, counting on progress principally by means of international agreement, aid, and conciliation.
In the transatlantic dialogue between Europeans and Americans today are to be found those distinctive features of European culture which were not involved, or only partially involved, in the process of “globalisation”. The age-old buttresses of the European expansionist dynamic are coming to light: limitations of space, attachment to traditions and respect for differences, the legal and social state which made peaceful existence possible, the value of universal basic education (free of charge in case of hardship) and much else. Europe has imposed restrictions on the dynamics of the market (entirely in the spirit of competition, which inter alia requires strict anti-cartel legislation, so as not to be made a mockery by the strongest and swiftest operators!). The “ordo liberals” of the forties and fifties (Eucken, Monnet, Röpke and Müller-Armack) in every possible way emphasised their difference from the “old liberals” of the 19th century. Social politics has become an inalienable part of the economy. “Market economy in the pure form” was already interpreted as cynicism. Beyond supply and demand: such was the title of a popular book of the times at the start of the “social market economy”. As regards the European concept of econo-mics and politics, saturated with the elements of “order in the good sense”, it can be stated that they lie “beyond the market jungle and on this side of the totalitarian zoo” (J. Semprun).
Has all this receded into the past? Or will it bear fruit again in the next few years? Will the “other side of Europe” become important and influential on world events? At present, this is still an open question. Of course, this development is essential. A united, global world should be imbued with some self-analysis, self-criticism, the capacity for self-doubt, and set a pro et contra, a sic et non against the paradigm of linear progress. How should the dialogue be carried on, beyond the necessary defence against aggression, between the supporters and the opponents of globalisation? How can national and international needs be reconciled: “productive efficiency and social solidarity, economic growth and protection of the environment, global structures and local control, national sovereignty and international law? On this question, the USA is proposing nothing new, quite the opposite, their traditional stance is increasingly preventing them from proposing anything useful ”. The old lady Europe has to find her voice in this debate, which could become more acute in the coming years. In the end, she has invariably found new and often surprising solutions in changed situations. Europe always was a “learning continent”.
The religious dimension
What is the role of Christian ideas and Christian forces in this process of “self-Europeanisation of Europe”? Is the Christian component still perceptible in the weft of the living canvas of the Old World, will it disappear, is its renaissance possible?
The feeling of unity of the European peoples is rooted in the experience of a common history and a common Christian upbringing. The monasteries and parish schools created an educational tradition which left its mark on the whole of Europe. In many European languages, Schola and Clericus provided the basis for the designation of the school and the educated person. The university as a unification of all sciences, as a “higher school”, arose in Christian Europe. The fraternity in prayer, shared festivals, the Christian calendar and the reckoning of time, and last but not least the “gently integrating” effect of the Roman liturgy (G. Tellerbach); all this shaped a European cultural region bearing the imprint of Christian evangelism, continually aware of the ancient philosophical and poetical tradition and creating a wealth of national literatures on the basis of Latin (or, in the eastern part of Europe, Greek and Church Slavonic).
Much of this has now faded away, both in the East and in the West. It is essential to reflect soberly and to ask the question: how much of all this can still count on general recognition? What can be brought back to life? The dispute about the name of God, about religion in the human rights charter of the European Union showed that, at least at the present time, agreement about the religious dimension in the concept of man, and in the European constitution and in European education is unlikely to be achieved. Nevertheless, it is possible to agree on standards for certain areas: the concept of European education, and the significance of the Greek, Roman and Judaeo-Christian tradition in the establishment of Europe; the rationality of Humanism and the Enlightenment; democracy founded on equal rights, freedom and solidarity; the attainment of a balance between wealth and poverty, nature and technology, capital and labour. Those wishing to consider these more specifically must turn to the problem of national and regional characteristics. In the European Union, basic Christian values are presented not so much in manifest form as in hidden, implied form, and any attempt to bring them into the foreground would most probably provoke disagreement and would represent a threat to the communality achieved.
In fact, the Christian churches of Europe are at present in no state to oblige the political institutions to give priority to dealing with the Christian heritage. After the events of 1989-90, all the Christian confessions live in a reunited Europe under conditions of freedom of conscience; the long sequence of religious persecutions under totalitarian regimes in the 20th century has apparently ended, and the churches no longer have to compete with “political religions”. However, the “expanded Europe” has brought new problems for churchmen in East and West: once again they have to be sure of their iden-tity, in particular in their relationship with nation and state; ecumenical co-operation needs a new foundation, and the clarification of relationships with the secular culture and the contradictions of secularism has in many places become an acute problem. The Christian churches are confronted by the need to think more actively in European categories, developing in dialogue one with another new missionary and evangelical concepts to counteract the threat of the extinction of belief.
The disappearance of the all-seeing eye of state surveillance returned their basic purpose to the Orthodox churches of Russia, Serbia, Rumania and Bulgaria, however at the same time it has also given them a certain lack of self-confidence. In view of the still rather indistinct pan-orthodox common features, the privileged relationship with the people and the nation still remains the main motive for unity in the Orthodox world. The competition of other religions and confessions on the same ( “canonical”) territory is in many cases regarded as inadmissible “missionary activity” and stimulation of “proselytism”. Western Christians are not uncommonly met here with manifestly religiously-motivated nationalism, often associated with a sharp rejection of western values. The independence of the church in relation to the state has much less significance than in the West; rather, here the old models of “harmonisation” of church and state are still in operation.
Thanks to the unification of Germany, Protestantism has again found its old centre, in the birthplace of the Reformation. However, in Europe as a whole, the Protestants found themselves in a minority position. As a result of this, they are activating their links with Protestant churches in other regions, in the USA and in the Third World. Its distinguishing features are the heritage of Luther, guarded especially jealously in Germany, and also dating back to Calvin and the Anglo-Saxon leanings towards a tradition of resistance and political democracy.
Divergent tendencies are also to be seen in European Catholicism: while in countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ireland, and in a less pronounced form in Spain and Italy, a strong folk church element is observed, and among the French elites we find an intellectualism oriented towards science and literature. In Germany, the Benelux countries and Great Britain there is long experience of coexistence with Protestantism, and finally, still little realised in the European Community, there is the Uniate Church in eastern Poland and the western Ukraine, combining the Eastern Church form with a Roman self-image.
Conclusion: a united European religion no more exists than does a united European culture. Both of these exist in fragmentary form, as a mosaic made up of separate elements. However, even the fragmentary can become attractive and significant in a multipolar world. In fact, for this a certain precondition is necessary: that each of the parts begins to feel its incompleteness, its need for compensation by borrowing from others.
In this sense, Western and Eastern Europe could have much to teach one another, in the ecclesiastical field as well. Both have something to share with others but neither can lay claim to wholeness and universality. In the West, both Protestants and Catholics have assimilated the pluralistic lessons of modern times. In the East, these lessons still remain to be gone through: in particular, the Orthodox world has still to develop and reinforce “external works”: charitable work, ecclesiastical law, independence in relations with the state, its own social teaching and its own social practice. In turn, the Western churches have to learn what they lack from those in the East: the inheritance of the church fathers and mystical contemplation, the unconditional priority of the church service and liturgy, a burning core of love for God, without which all the “external works” of Christianity, however effective they may be, remain empty and devoid of content.
Thus, in a united Europe, there has also to be a new meeting of the Christian churches. This will necessitate the elimination of many resistances, estrangements and antipathies. An inquisitive interest in the other has to arise, the feeling that Europe is uniting not only in the culture of humanism and human rights, but also in the common heritage of Christian upbringing.
Such curiosity towards one another is a prerequisite for Europe, after decades of separation, to start at last “breathing with both lungs” and for it to be able once again to learn its “mother tongue, Christianity” (John Paul II). In truth, the road to this will not be easy; it will be long and arduous.
 More precisely, one should say: Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe on the one hand and Western, Southern and Northern Europe on the other. Countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland cannot be regarded as “Eastern European” (they come into “Central Europe”). The old habit, still not abandoned, of referring even to Prague or Budapest as the east is a relic of the Cold War.
 Indeed, “the abduction of Europa” as a theme is more often found in leading articles, commentaries and caricatures, but not among political emblems of nationality. The political iconography of modern Europe is defined not by this image, but by a constellation of twelve stars (which in turn are linked to the image of the heavenly Jerusalem in the Apocalypse), going back to the founder of the Pan European movement, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi.
 O. Halecki. Europa. Grenzen und Gliederung seiner Geschichte. Darmstadt, 1957; E. Hassinger. Das Werden des neuzeitlichen Europa 1300-1600. Braunschweig, 1959; R. Brague. Europe. La voie romaine. Paris, 1989; N. Davies. Europe. A history. Oxford, 1996.
 Der Aufbau Europas. Pläne und Dokumente 1945-1980. Hrsg. von J. Schwarz. Berlin, 1980; F. Esterbauer. Europ äische Integration von den Anfängen zum Vertrag von Maasticht. Wien, 1994.
 T. G. Ash. We the People: The Revolution of 1989 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague. London, 1990.
 Cited in: G. Haeffner. Der Beitrag des Christentums zur Gestaltwerdung Europas. - In: Was hat Europa zu bieten. Hrsg. von H. Maier. Regensburg, 1998, S. 45, Anm. 18.
 Chr. Stark. Die Einheit gründet im gemeinsamen politischen Erbe. – In: Rheinischer Merkur, 12.07.1996.
 Dokumente zur Geschichte der europäischen Expansion. rsg. von E. Schmitt. 7 bde. München, 1986-.
 “The list of conflicts is widening. More and more often, America and Europe take differing positions in the course of multilateral debates ”. - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 06.08.2001; T. Judt. Scheidung auf westlich. Amerika und Europa werden einander fremd. – Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.08.2001.
 M. Greffrat writes: “At least until recently, the force of capitalism in Europe remained subdued, while cultural variety did not preclude social equality. The cleanliness of our towns with their swimming pools and concert halls, the beauty of our villages, the regularity of provision of water, transport and refuse disposal, the availability of free education, everything that is for us a matter of course, appears as a utopia in Africa, Asia and even in significant parts of North America (quoted from: Christ in der Gegenwart, 03.12.2000, Semprun reference ibid.).
 R. Brague. Die Geschichte der europäischen Kultur als Selbsteuropäisierung. ß In: Tumult. Schriften zur Verkehrswissenschaft, 22 (1996), S. 94-100.
 The German text of the second paragraph of the preamble to the charter states: “Acknowledging its spiritual, religious and moral heritage. . .” (in the other European languages, the mention of religiosity is absent: “patrimoine spirituel et moral” (Fr.), “spiritual and moral heritage” (Engl.), “patrimonio espiritual y moral” (Sp.) etc. See: P. J. Tettinger. Die Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union. – In: Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 2001, H. 14, S. 1010-1015.
 K. Lehmann. Christen im säkularisierten Europa. – Marienbader Gespräche der Ackermann-Gemeinde 1999/2000, S. 142-151.
 If one considers that the population of Europe is about 530 million people (up to the Urals), then half of this is made up of Catholics (225 million, or 49%), 99 million (19%) are Orthodox, and the reformed churches account for 83 million (16%). (Based on the situation in 1993, figures obtained from the Evangelical Union Religious Knowledge Institute in Bensheim).
 The first signs of change have in fact been seen. An example of these is provided by the “Basics of the social teaching of the Russian Orthodox church” adopted in the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.