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

Course code
Course fee (no housing)
Advanced Master
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This course offers the possibility to deepen your knowledge of Old Catholic theology by thematic and in-depth case-driven classes, linked to a 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? This apparent tension and paradox will be the core theme of this weeklong, intensive course. In 2021, this course will be offered online for the first time.

The topics and disciplines covered by the course include: fundamental and liturgical theology, spirituality, and ecumenism. Case studies that will be explored cover topics such as marriage, the ordination of women and mission. The course will also engage with Old Catholic worship as it is being celebrated today and interact with contemporary practices of pastoral care and mission.

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 reflexion and research. The course is at the advanced level of a MA curriculum. Students may be expected to do advance reading for the course.

Entry requirements for this course are having attended the course ‘Old Catholic Theology in an Ecumenical context’, advanced knowledge of theology or a similar qualification. The course ‘Old Catholic Theology in an Ecumenical context’ is offered in immediate connection with this advanced 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

Old Catholic theology is understood as the theological discourse within the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.

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 - Ecumenical Theology

Mr. drs. Adriaan Snijders - Canon Law

Prof.dr. Andreas Krebs - Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion

And others, to be announced.

Target audience

Students who attended the course: 'Old Catholic Theology in its Ecumenical Context'; 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:

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

Study load

4 contact hours/day; about 40 hours or preparatory self-study will be required.


Course fee:
Course + course materials

Booking both courses leads to a reduced fee. For questions you can contact the course director.


Scholarships might be available for qualifying Anglican students, please contact the course director.

More information

Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit | Utrecht University | E:

Recommended combinations
Old Catholic Theology in its Ecumenical Context


Application deadline: 01 May 2021

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