Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Lawrence C. Reardon

Second Advisor

Mary Malone

Third Advisor

Michele Dillon


Religious nationalism, defined as the integration of civic and religious identities, was a popular vehicle for national struggle in eastern European countries like Poland and Romania during the interwar period through Catholicism and Orthodoxy. While some countries experience strong religious nationalist movements, others appear to be weaker. This research uses the case study of the Ukrainian independence movement, which experienced attempts to meld the Greek Catholic identity with nationalist causes between 1918 and 1945, to test which factors are relevant in forming a religious nationalism. This research explores the ability and effectiveness of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian nationalist groups, such as the Organization for Ukrainian Nationalists, to bring about the synthesis of religious and political aims and create a religio-national identity. Ultimately, Ukraine failed to foment religious nationalism between 1918 and 1945 due to an inability to find successful cooperation between religious institutions and nationalist groups. Debates regarding secular or Christian groundings of the future Ukrainian state, the use of political violence and internal factionalism in both groups prevented the formation of a clear religio-national identity in Ukraine. Successful repression of the Ukrainian nationalist cause from occupying countries, such as Poland and the Soviet Union, prevented the movement from engaging in explicit and intensive cross-cooperation, ultimately failing when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church dissolved in 1946. The failure to form a resonating religio-national identity in Ukraine may be a relevant factor in the fractured political landscape of the post-independence era, particularly during the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution.