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

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

This track consists of two connected courses which offer the posibility to get to know and deepen your understanding of Old Catholic Theology by thematic and in-depth, case-driven classes. 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?

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, 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 Bern.

The course includes excursions to a major collection of related religious art (Museum Catharijneconvent), to the traces of Catholic presence and history in the episcopal city of Utrecht and 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 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 advaced 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 Eucemenical Context and The Early Church as Ideal. It is also possible to participate in only one of the two weeks.

Copyright picture: Anton Sinke

Course director

Prof. dr. Peter-Ben Smit

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 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; 6) The student will be able to undertake further independent study of aspects of Old Catholic theology.

Study load

2 weeks of which each week has 4 contact hours/day, 2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon; about 60-80 hours of preparatory self-study will be required.


Course fee:
Housing fee:

Housing through:

  • Utrecht Summer School

More information

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


Application deadline: 01 June 2020

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