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Religion, Peace and Democracy through Education and Learning

Icon Painting - A Practical and Theoretical Introduction

Level: Preparatory level, Upper secondary level

Organiser: Sankt Ignatios Community College

Type of instruction: Distance learning with study meetings

Length: 1 year (40 weeks)

Study pace: Part-time (50%)

Language of instruction: Arabic or English

The word icon comes from the Greek eikon (image). An icon can be likened to a "photograph of the spiritual", a meeting place with the mysterious, art of deep spiritual dimensions, imagery of a religious subject, and an image that unites the divine with the human. The icon is also called the "gospel of the eye", which means that the Christian message is concretised with the help of color instead of text.

This is a foundational, one-year course in icon painting for those who want to learn more about icons and develop their own icon painting skills, whether they are a beginner or have previous experience. No previous experience is required to participate in the course. Interest and a feeling for the spiritual is all you need to participate and paint your own icon.


You will, among other things, learn:

  • To transfer an original to a wooden board.
  • To paint in three techniques: acrylic, oil, and egg tempera.
  • The basics of colour theory.
  • The history of the icon and the various icon schools.
  • The theology of the icon and its role in orthodox spirituality.

Participants in the course receive a starting kit with all the materials needed to paint an icon.

Distance Learning with Compulsory Study Meetings

This is a distance course, conducted online via our student portal, but it also includes compulsory study meetings. The location, date and number of study meetings are determined in dialogue with the participants on the course at the start of the course.

Examination Format

Community college studies are based on attendance and active participation. This means that the student must participate in all parts and complete all tasks that are included in the course. If the student doesn’t do this, the school has the right and the obligation to remove the student from the course, which also means that any student financial aid for the course will be withdrawn.

Certificate of Completion

If you participate in all parts and complete all tasks that are included in the course, you will receive a certificate of completion after the end of the course.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition at Sankt Ignatios is free for everyone with citizenship or residence permit in Sweden or another EU country. However, we do charge a service fee for studies at the college or community college. For distance courses this fee is SEK 400 per semester. The service fee covers insurance and administration, among other things. The service fee does not cover course literature, which is the participant's own responsibility to acquire.

Student Financial Aid

Participants of this course who are Swedish citizens are eligible to apply for student loans and grants via The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN). In some cases, participants who are not Swedish citizens but who have a residence permit in Sweden may also be eligible to apply for student loans and grants via CSN. Applicants must be prepared to validate their eligibility by providing documentation detailing previous education, since this will determine the outcome of their application for student financial aid.

Read more about how to apply for student financial aid via CSN at www.csn.se.

Participants who are not eligible to apply for student financial aid via CSN are encouraged to investigate whether they can apply for student financial aid in their home country for studies at Sankt Ignatios.

Utilising student financial aid is however not required in order to study at Sankt Ignatios.

Next course start: Fall term 2020

Applicants within Sweden:

Application period: March 15 - April 15.

Occasionally, additional application periods for late application are opened, depending on available spots. Such application periods are announced on our website shortly before opening.


The course has no specific prerequisites.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants are required to be over the age of 18 and have a citizenship or residence permit in Sweden.

Admissions Process

March 15 - April 15: Fill out the online application form for this course. Within a few days you will receive an e-mail confirmation that we have received and processed your application.

April 16 - July 11: A letter of acceptance is sent out by e-mail to those who have been admitted. In order to keep your place you need to accept it no later than two weeks after your letter of acceptance was sent. The letter also contains information about the course start.

August 5 - August 9: A welcome letter with information and login details is sent out, as well as an invoice for the service fee of the first semester.

August 19 - August 23: Course start and introductory week.

If the course has too few participants

If the course has too few participants after the last application date, the course may be cancelled. If a course is cancelled, students will be informed of this no later than one week before the course starts. Any fees paid will be refunded.

If for some reason we want to close an ongoing course, the students will be notified at least one semester in advance.

Applicants outside Sweden:

This course is not open for applicants outside Sweden.