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Pastoral Program for Ordination to the Priesthood

Level: Seminary level & First cycle (180 ECTS credits)

Organiser: Sankt Ignatios Community College & University College Stockholm

Location: Södertälje & Bromma

Language of instruction: English

Length: 4 years

Study pace: Full-time (125%)

Teaching hours: Daytime, Certain weekends & evenings

This four-year program prepares candidates for ordination to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church.

The program is informed by the two dimensions of the pastoral ministry. The first dimension, that of spiritual leadership, entails bringing together the community of faith to prayer. The primary role of the Priest is to manifest the presence of God in the midst of our fragile existence. As Christians, we are all witnesses to the love of God. By gathering together around the Priest for worship in the Liturgy, the community is able to give corporate expression to that love. In the context of pastoral dialogue and confession, the Priest guides the faithful toward self discovery in the light of God’s love.

The second dimension is to empower people and equip them to critically engage with and participate in society at large, and in the life of the Church; to encourage the formation and education of the laity in the teaching and the life of the Church, and to provide care and relief to the vulnerable by supporting the diaconate in organizing and developing caritative work. To this end, a priest needs to develop a role of communicative leadership, gathering together and encouraging the competence and experience of the community in the service of the mission of the Church.

These two dimensions - the spiritual and the communicative - are the tributaries that flow through this program, converging in the discernment of a personal vision, as each candidate contemplates the kind of role they are to play in the mission of the Church.

The education focuses on the sources of the faith, practical theology and liturgical languages. Along with a bachelor's degree in theology, candidates are provided the means to form a secure identity from which to engage with both the discourse of modern society, as well as of the respective ecclesiastical tradition of the Church they will be serving.


The first two years are studied at the College, where university studies (50%) are combined with community college studies (75%). In this way academic studies are combined with the possibility for personal formation. This period is characterised by study, prayer, and fellowship, giving students the opportunity to grow as humans and as Christians, and to deepen their spiritual identities, while establishing a broad foundation of knowledge in Orthodox theology and tradition. The first year takes place in Tysslinge. The second year takes place in Viksberg.

The third and fourth years consist of university studies at full-time (100%), combined with community college studies (25%). The third and fourth years take place at University College Stockholm's campus in Bromma, as well as in Viksberg.

Examination Format

This is a college program which means that courses at both community college level and university level are included. Students are always informed about the level of the course at each individual course start.

Community college studies are assessed based on attendance and active participation. For full-time studies, this means that the student should be present as a rule every Monday-Friday from 9.00-16.00, unless the teaching is arranged for another time or day, and complete all tasks that are included in the course. If a student's absence is higher than 20%, the school has the right and obligation to remove the student from the program, which also means that any student financial aid for the program will be withdrawn.

Courses at university level use examination forms including but not limited to: written examinations, seminars, PM's, take-home examinations, interpretation exercises, oral examinations and essays. In addition, mandatory attendance with limited exceptions also applies.


The program leads to a bachelor's degree in theology with a focus on Eastern Christian studies as well as a vocational qualification in pastoral ministry.


The program does not automatically lead to ordination in the Orthodox Church. While the seminary faculty may recommend a seminary graduate for ordination, the final decision rests exclusively with the hierarchy of the respective Church.


For participants of this program it is mandatory to live at the school, since the seminary life is an integral part of the students formation for service in the Church.

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 full-time studies this fee is SEK 1200 per semester. The service fee covers things like insurance, administration, and some materials used by students in connection with their studies. The service fee does not cover course literature, which is the participant's own responsibility to acquire.

The cost of boarding ranges from SEK 2500 to SEK 5000 per month (for 9 months per year) depending on the students choice of living arrangement. The fee for boarding includes both meals and accomodation.

Student Financial Aid

Participants of this program 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 program start: Fall term 2020

Applicants within Sweden or other EU/EEA-countries:

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.


General entry requirements for university studies in Sweden.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants are required to be over the age of 18.

In addition to the regular application, applicants also need to provide the following attachments:

  • A letter of recommendation from their spiritual father.
  • A letter of recognition from the ordaining bishop


Qualified applicants will also be called to an admission interview. The interview takes place over the phone with the rector of the relevant seminary.

Admissions Process

March 15 - April 15: Apply to this program via www.universityadmissions.se. Follow this link to get directly to this program's page on universityadmissions.se.

Upload your grades and other attachments (a letter of recommendation from your spiritual father and a letter of recognition from the ordaining bishop

) to universityadmissions.se when making your application. You can also send them to universityadmissions.se by post.

Interview: After the application period, qualified applicants will be contacted via e-mail and a telephone interview will be booked with the rector of the relevant seminary. In the interview, an initial assessment is made of the student's motivation for studies, family, background and grounding in their church. A general assessment of suitability for studies and boarding at the school is also made.

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 before July 26. The letter also contains information about the start of the program.

July 29 - August 2: A welcome letter is sent out with additional information about the start of the program.

August 12 - August 18: Those who will be living at the school move in.

August 19 - August 23: program start and introductory week in Tysslinge.

If the program has too few participants

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

Applicants outside the EU/EEA:

Application period: October 15 - November 15

Applicants outside of the EU/EEA have a separate admissions process, more information here.