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 of 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 Church (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 Orthodox life more widely within Europe and beyond.
Three Kinds of Education
Students at Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola are registered either on the General Education Program or in Sankt Ignatios College.
We offer three different kinds of education.
At Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola our General Education Program offers gymnasium and pre-gymnasium education to men and women who need to complete their basic education in order to find employment and to play their full role in Swedish society as informed and active citizens. Students receive tuition in subjects such as Swedish, English, mathematics, science and social studies. Students can study to a level equivalent to gymnasium level in the Swedish school system, which allows the student to go on to higher education or vocational training.
This is a full-time, campus-based education.
In Sankt Ignatios College we offer training and education to men and women who would like to learn more about their faith and tradition and to those who would like to serve their Church in a vocational role such as priest, deacon, religious educator, Sunday School teacher or cantor.
In the College we offer two kinds of education. Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola (Specialised Education Program) offers seminary training for teachers, leaders, and clergy, which may end with a professional degree, such as a Pastoral or Pedagogical degree, while Stockholm School of Theology offers a purely academic education, leading to a degree such as Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theology, or Doctor of Theology.
The training offered to priests and Church educators is a combination of both kinds and involves seminary training at Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola and academic training offered by the Department of Eastern Christian Studies at Stockholm School of Theology.
All students enrolled at the Department of Eastern Christian Studies are also enrolled in Sankt Ignatios College (even though they are not enrolled in Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola) so that Sankt Ignatios College provides the student environment and student aid, while the courses are conducted exclusively by Stockholm School of Theology.
All our academic staff are members of the Department of Eastern Christian Studies, which allows them to contribute to ongoing scholarly research and development both in the university and within the wider international networks of Orthodox scholarship. We aspire to produce research of the highest quality and to train the next generation of scholars and teachers through our doctoral and postgraduate programs. We value the opportunity this affords us to make a contribution to Church life and theological debate in Sweden from an Orthodox perspective.
Courses at the College take different forms. Some require full time study on campus and others can be studied part time or by distance learning. The details for each course can be found in this catalogue.
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.