Old Catholic Theology: The Early Church as Charism and Challenge - Track

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
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This online track consists of two connected courses that offer in the first week an introduction to Old Catholic theology in its ecumenical context and in the second week the possibility to deepen your understanding of Old Catholic Theology by thematic and in-depth case-driven classes. Old Catholic theology is understood as the main theological currents as they exist in Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches. The first week will offer a broad overview of main topics and themes in Old Catholic theology and spirituality which will be deepened in the courses of the second week.

Especially the courses in the second week are linked to an apparent paradoxical key starting point of Old Catholic theology: the faith and order of the Early Church. How can a modern church be so 'traditional' at the same time?

The topics covered by the course include the following aspects of Old Catholic theology and tradition: the history of Old Catholicism, fundamental and liturgical theology, spirituality, ecumenism, canon law and ecclesiology, liturgy, and systematic theology. Case studies that will be explored cover topics such as marriage, the ordination of women and mission. 

The courses 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 Bonn.

The course includes live virtual excursions to a major collection of related religious art (Museum Catharijneconvent) and to the traces of Catholic presence and history in the episcopal city of Utrecht. The beginning of the course is marked by virtually attending the Eucharist in St. Gertrud’s Cathedral, facilitating an encounter with ‘lived Old Catholicism’.

Although the course will be given fully online there will be organised online activities besides the programme of lectures and seminars to meet and get to know each other. This, we believe, is important because studying theology is also studying in practice, in relation with the other students from all different contexts.

At the end of the course, students will have a deepened knowledge of, and insight in Old Catholic theology and her appeal on the Early Church and will be able to apply this knowledge in theological reflection and research. The course is partly at the introductory level of an M.Div. curriculum and partly at the advanced level of a MA curriculum. Good BA students may also apply, as well as others. Students may be expected to do advance reading for the course.

This track combines the two courses of Old Catholic Theology in its Ecumenical Context and The Early Church as Ideal. It is also possible to participate in only one of the two weeks.

Copyright picture: Anton Sinke

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit


Rev. dr. Mattijs Ploeger - Systematic theology and liturgical studies

The Rt. Rev. dr. Dirk Jan Schoon - Church History

Rev. Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit - Ecumenism

Mr. Adriaan Snijders, L.MM. - Canon Law

Rev. Jutta Eilander - van Maaren, MA - Practical Theology and Spirituality

Prof. dr. Andreas Krebs – Dogmatics and Philosophy of Religion

The Rt. Rev. Bernd Wallet, Archbishop-elect of Utrecht - Old Catholicism in its ecumenical context

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.

Aim of the course

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 have a deepened knowledge of Old Catholic theology its appeal on the Early Church;
  4. The student will be able apply this knowledge in theological reflexion and research;
  5. The student will be able to undertake further independent study of aspects of Old Catholic theology.

Study load

Two weeks of which each week has four contact hours/day.

About 60-80 hours of preparatory self-study will be required.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials

More information

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


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline