Many Americans do not realize the strength of Eastern Orthodoxy in the Eastern part of Europe going on through to Siberia, the border with China, etc. And, because we do not, we often do not realize that there is a partially different way of thinking because of the different religious approaches of the East and the West. There is an entire way of European thinking that is not related to all the Western development, to the Enlightenment, or to the Reformation. As a result, though these States are clearly European, and participated in various of the European wars, yet the Eastern Europeans do not think quite like the Western Europeans. We also do not often realize that there are vast expanses of world geography that look to Orthodoxy for spiritual succor.
Because of the separation of the Church, it means that the New World was basically settled by people from the Western churches who did not know much of anything of the Orthodox. Russia colonized toward the East, until they finally arrived in Siberia and crossed over to the New World, in the Alaska area. The Western States took to the sea and settled the bulk of the New World through their sea voyages. The East and the West nearly met north of San Francisco and South of Alaska. Look at the “tail” of Alaska. That is how far south the Russians merchants, etc., got.
That lack of knowledge about Orthodoxy has remained to this day. Sadly, when Orthodoxy is mentioned in the Western press, it is often mentioned in a negative way because of the politics between the USA and Eastern Europe. But, frankly, most often, Eastern Orthodoxy is either not mentioned or is this cute, interesting faith that holds delicious ethnic festivals. Mind you, given how the news media often treats religion, being a cute, interesting faith that holds delicious ethnic festivals has its upside.
I have no particular point to this rambling post. I simply wanted to give you an idea of the extent of Orthodoxy and to make a couple of comments about our country’s general lack of knowledge of Orthodoxy.