ARCHIVES Danyliw Seminar 2018
New York University (US)
A PhD candidate in New York University’s Department of History, Kathryn David’s dissertation focuses on the consequences of Stalin’s decision to allow for a legal Russian Orthodox Church as part of the Soviet state during World War II. Previously, Kathryn was a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar in Odesa, Ukraine and a research assistant at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Soviet Governance in West Ukraine: Church and State
Between 1946 and 1949, a mass Soviet state-led transfer of Greek Catholic clergy and believers to Russian Orthodoxy took place in West Ukraine. Soviet authorities and Orthodox hierarches termed the process a “reunification,” which emphasized that this religious conversion was part of a larger process of “reuniting” West Ukrainians and East Ukrainians through the expansion of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This paper explores the reinforcement of the conversion of Soviet Ukrainians to Russian Orthodoxy by secular authorities in the period 1946-1953. It argues that religious reunification carved out a space for the Russian Orthodox Church in Soviet Ukraine based on the Church’s historical role in the Russian Empire. While imperial Russophiles saw Russian Orthodoxy as a tool to unite various Slavic ethnicities into a single loyal nation, Soviet authorities saw the church as a way to unite West and East Ukrainians as one Soviet-loyal Ukrainian nation.