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

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
Course Level

This 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 the 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.

The courses in the second week are especially 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 excursions a.o. to a major collection of related religious art (Museum Catharijneconvent). The beginning of the course is marked by attending the Eucharist in St. Gertrud’s Cathedral, facilitating an encounter with ‘lived Old Catholicism’.

Besides the programme of lectures and seminars social activities will be organised 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

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
  • Prof. dr. Andreas Krebs
  • The Rev. Jutta Eilander-van Maaren, MA
  • Mr. Adriaan Snijders, L.L.M
  • The Rt. Rev. dr. Joris Vercammen

And others (see day-to-day programme).

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 contextualise 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 to apply this knowledge in theological reflection 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
Housing fee:
Housing cost
Housing provider:
Utrecht Summer School


Extra application information

If it somehow will not be possible to organize the summerschool in Utrecht there will be a back-up plan to deliver the summerschool online like last year. There will be a possibility to cancel your application in the case you only want to attend the summerschool when it takes place in Utrecht. N.B. there won't be a recording or online livestream when the course will take place in Utrecht.

More information

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


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline