Two Church Families
Sankt Ignatios folkhögskola is the most important expression of the work of the Sankt Ignatios Foundation. The foundation was established in 2012 by the bishops representing the Byzantine and Oriental churches in Sweden, with the twin aims of supporting Orthodox education and facilitating greater co-operation and understanding between the two church families. The folkhögskola was established primarily to meet the need for high quality education and training for men and women from the two Orthodox families who wish to serve in the churches (e.g. as pastors, deacons and educators), and to provide a forum where the churches could engage in theological reflection and discussion.
Since then we have become the main facilitator of inter-church communication, co-operation, and education within the Orthodox churches in Sweden, and through our teaching and scholarship we have contributed to the development and life of the Orthodox life more widely within Europe and beyond.
Three Kinds of Education
We offer three different forms of education.
The allmän kurs offers students a level of education equivalent to the education Swedish children achieve between the ages of 6-19. Our allmän kurs focuses on Swedish language and culture and is designed to prepare students for full participation in Swedish society.
Our seminaries offer a wide range of courses designed to educate students in their own Orthodox traditions. Much of the practical and vocational training takes place here. Some of these courses are available as part time and distance courses and some reflect an inter-Orthodox perspective.
At the Department of Eastern Christian Studies, which is a collaboration between Sankt Ignatios and University College Stockholm (EHS), we provide education in Eastern Christian Studies at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.
Students on our pastoral pedagogical program and our church educator program combine courses at seminary and university levels.
All our church based courses and programs, at seminary and university levels, are organised by Sankt Ignatios College.
Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola works with four Orthodox Church traditions. These are:
The Byzantine Orthodox Tradition (Slavic and Greek)
The Coptic Orthodox Tradition
The Syriac Orthodox Tradition
The Tewahedo Orthodox Tradition (Eritrean-Ethiopian)
Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola is an expression of the search for greater unity and understanding between these traditions. We believe that only when we understand ourselves and one another better can we truly, from a position of confidence and sympathetic understanding, develop meaningful dialogue and collaboration with our brothers and sisters in the other Orthodox traditions.
We believe that by helping the people in our Churches to become more aware of the roots of their own history and tradition we are equipping them to play a fuller role as active participants both in the life of their Churches and within society, where, as informed Christians, they can make an enormous contribution to building a society marked by tolerance, respect for human rights and democratic values.
Five Pedagogical Principles
At Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola we seek to create a learning environment where students work together with teachers to find the answers they seek. We believe that education is what happens in the ‘conversation’ between the student’s own insights and the taught tradition. In our classrooms therefore, we adopt a teaching style marked by a co-operative search for knowledge, a focus on the unique experience and needs of each student, a profound respect for the sources of our faith, a pursuit of excellence, and a commitment to thoughtful and reflective service in the world.
We aim to be a place where people from different nationalities and traditions share in the common pursuit of knowledge, where they can grow as individuals, and where teachers and students together shape a creative and thoughtful environment for addressing life’s most important questions.