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Religion, Peace and Democracy through Education and Learning

The Sources of the Faith in History and Present

Level: Seminary level, Upper secondary level

Organiser: Sankt Ignatios Community College

Type of instruction: Distance learning

Length: One semester (20 weeks)/module or 2,5 years for all modules

Study pace: Part-time (50%)

Language of instruction: Literature in English, teaching in English or Swedish

In semitic languages the word for source and eye are closely related. By studying the sources, we enter into a relationship with tradition, becoming a constitutive part of it. We learn to “see” together with our spiritual fathers and mothers. According to this approach, tradition is not seen as an all-encompassing holistic vision, nor as an object to be studied from without by a detached observer. Tradition is studied from within. An inside perspective, however, does not imply that it is at odds with the scientific method, rather, the scientific method reinforces this sense of vision. For those who partake in tradition, the academic study of the sources of the faith becomes a fundamental part of their Christian formation.

This course takes an academic approach but does not in itself constitute scientific study. The course does require a certain proficiency in academic reading since the literature is written by researchers, although the pace of study is comparatively low compared to university studies.

The course is designed to be modular, which means that the modules can be taken in any order, or even separately. Each module is one semester long.


The course consists of the following modules:

Church History August 19 - December 20

This module traces the historical development of Orthodox Churches throughout the ages. Students acquire an overview of Syriac-Orthodox, Coptic-Orthodox, and Byzantine-Orthodox Church history, with an emphasis on the influence that Chalcedon, Islam, the Ottoman Empire and Communism has had on their development.

The Apostolic Scriptures January 7 - June 12

This module explores the Bible and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, as well as how the Church Fathers approached and interpreted Biblical texts. Students familiarise themselves with the Greek and Syriac canons as well as the texts of the Apostolic Fathers.

Patristics August 19 - December 20

This module introduces students to the history, theology and spirituality of the Church Fathers, with a focus on organising them thematically and chronologically. It deals with the dynamic nature of theology, emphasising that the theological task is never complete, and that every generation of Christians must take responsibility for, and continually develop, theological thinking.

Ecclesiology January 7 - June 12

This module focuses on the Orthodox understanding of the Church as a concept, and how it is realised in practice. It provides an overview of canon law with an emphasis on the early councils, as well as principles of Church organization, both locally and between jurisdictions.

Liturgics August 19 - December 20

This module deals with liturgy as science. Students learn the principles of liturgical theology, what liturgy is in relation to the Church, as well as acquiring an overview of how the liturgies developed in the Syriac-Orthodox, Coptic-Orthodox and Byzantine-Orthodox Churches.

Distance Learning

This is a distance course, conducted online via our student portal, and based on texts, readings and exercises.

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 a course module, you will receive a certificate of completion after the end of the course module.

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 modules: Starting January 7 - The Apostolic Scriptures, Ecclesiology.

Applicants within Sweden:

Application period: Always open for application

This course is always open for application. However, you must apply at least one week before the specific course module starts.


Basic computer skills are required, as well as the ability to read and analyse a small number of pages of academic writing in English, and to express one's thoughts and ideas in simple written form.

Requirements for Admission

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

Admissions Process

Fill out the online application form for this course. If you are admitted you will receive a letter of acceptance by e-mail as soon as possible.

Before the specific course module starts you will receive a welcome letter with information and login details, as well as an invoice for the service fee of the first semester.

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.