Old Catholic Theology in its Ecumenical Context

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)

Unfortunately, this course is cancelled this summer due to COVID-19 regulations. We expect to be able to offer this course again next year

The course offers an introduction to Old Catholic theology in an ecumenical context. Old Catholic theology is understood as the main theological currents as they exist in Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches. The topics covered by the course include the following aspects of Old Catholic theology and tradition: the history of Old Catholicism, spirituality, ecumenism, canon law and ecclesiology, liturgy, and systematic theology.

The course includes excursions to a major collection of related religious art (Museum Catharijneconvent), to a liturgical celebration (Utrecht) and to the traces of Catholic presence and history in the episcopal city of Utrecht.

Students will be taught by experts in Old Catholic theology on the faculty of the Old Catholic Seminary, Utrecht, together with staff of the Institute of Old Catholic Theology, University of Bern. The topics covered by the course include the following: History of Old Catholicism, Old Catholic spirituality, Ecumenism and Old Catholicism, Old Catholic canon law and ecclesiology, Old Catholic liturgy, and Old Catholic systematic theology. The course will also include an excursion to a major collection of related religious art (Museum Catherijneconvent), an excursion to an Old Catholic liturgical celebration (Utrecht), and to the traces of Catholic presence and history in the episcopal city of Utrecht. The course will conclude with a lecture in the historical meeting room of the Metropolitan Chapter of Utrecht. The beginning of the course is marked by the participation in the Eucharist in St. Gertrud’s Cathedral, facilitating an encounter with ‘lived Old Catholicism.’

At the end of the course, students will have a broad overview of main topics and themes in Old Catholic theology and spirituality and will be able to pursue further independent study of the subject. The course is at the introductory level of an M.Div. curriculum;; good BA students may also apply, as well as others. Students may be expected to do advance reading for the course.; 

This course can be combined with a second week of advanced studies: ‘The Early Church as Ideal – Old Catholic Theology Beyond the Basics.’ This course is offered in immediate connection with the introductory course. Are you interested in participating in both courses? You can apply for the combination track here: Old Catholic Theology: The Early Church as Charism and Challenge

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit


Dr. Mattijs Ploeger - Systematic theology and liturgical studies

Rt. Rev. Dr. Dick Schoon - Church History

Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit - Church History / Ecumenism

Mr. drs. Adriaan Snijders - Canon Law

And others, as announced.

Target audience

Students of theology interested in Old Catholicism and ecumenism; Clergy and theologians interested in Old Catholicism and ecumenism; Laypersons with formal or informal theological training interesting in Old Catholicism and ecumenism. The course is of specific interest for students with Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Old Catholic, and ecumenical backgrounds.

Course aim

The goals of the course are, the following; upon completing the course: 1) The student will be familiar with central aspects of Old Catholic identity and theology, 2) The student will be able to contextualize Old Catholic theology within the broader spectrum of theology and religious studies, 3) The student will be able to undertake further independent exploratory studies of aspects of Old Catholic theology.

Study load

4 contact hours/day, 2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon; about 40 hours or preparatory self-study will be required.


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

If you are combining this course with 'the Early Church as Ideal - Old Catholic Theology Beyond the Basics', there will be a reduced fee.

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.


For Anglican students, scholarships may be available.

More information

Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit | Utrecht University | E: p.b.a.smit@uu.nl

Recommended combinations
The Early Church as Ideal: Old Catholic Theology Beyond the Basics


Application deadline: 01 June 2020

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