Kathryn David

Core Areas: Religion and Empire, Soviet Studies, Ukrainian Studies, Religion and Nationalism

Research: How did the world’s first officially atheist state use religion as a tool of state building? My book project, One Ukraine, Under God: Church, State, and the Making of the Postwar USSR, examines how the Soviet state drew on and radically redefined the imperial legacy of the Russian Orthodox Church. My work examines the Soviet state’s promotion of Russian Orthodoxy in a particular but critical case: the majority Catholic territories annexed to Soviet Ukraine during World War II. While most scholars focus on the USSR’s management of its diverse population through nationality, my project explores a case when confessional belonging was the key category Soviet authorities used to govern their citizens. This moment of partnership between church and state changes how we see the Soviet empire and its relationship to its diverse population. The USSR did not always repress religion, and instead used religious institutions to build a multiconfessional, as well as multinational Soviet society. 

Background: I received my PhD in History from New York University. My work has been supported by the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) and the Title VIII program of the U.S. Department of State.


  • Kathryn David. “Galicians into Soviet Orthodox: Religion and Post-War Ukraine.” Nationalities Papers 46, no. 2 (2018): 290-300.
  • Kathryn David. “Patriarch Filaret and the Orthodox Church in Soviet and Post-Soviet Ukraine,” in Eds. Frank Cibulka and Zachary Irwin. Liberals, Conservatives, and Mavericks in the Christian Churches of Eastern Europe: A festschrift for Sabrina P. Ramet. Budapest: Central European University Press, FORTHCOMING.