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Syrian Fathers 1 (2023-2024)


In order to contextualize the West Syrian tradition, the participant will be introduced to the development of the early church and the spread of Christianity in the Roman empire. This first part will introduce some of the Fathers up to the 4th century, including: Ignatius of Antioch, Aphrahat, Ephrem, and the Cappadocian fathers (Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa). The course will cover different lines of development  in the early Syriac communities prior to the Christianization of the Roman Empire and touch upon the impact of the council of Nicaea and the Christianization of the empire which results in a catholic church. The course will also introduce the role of women in the West Syrian tradition as exemplified by the Daughters of the Covenant.


Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course the participants should be able to

  • describe, both individually and together with other participants the development and spread of the early church until the Christianization of the Roman Empire.
  • Understand and be able to describe the different local and competing communities in the early church and connect their relevance for today.
  • describe the role of Ephrem the Syrian in making the Syrian tradition orthodox.
  • Be familiar with themes such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the role of the Mother of God, faith and love.
  • Both individually and in groups, describe the role of women in the early Syrian

Further course information

Details of lessons, participation in discussions and contact with teacher and other participants take place mainly through the teaching platform Canvas.

You will have two evening lessons during the week.

The first evening will be related to the specific subject that you have chosen – you will participate in the class and discuss with your teacher and other participants in the course.

On the second evening, you will participate in an open lecture where you and all the participants within the Syrian Orthodox seminary participate and discusses important subjects within the Syrian Orthodox Church and society today. In this lesson you will have a significant influence on which subjects and discussions will take place. You will also, together with your fellow participants, present and actively defend your perspectives and solutions to questions that are raised. Within “folkbildning”, teaching is not only between teacher and student, but also between student and teacher and between student and student. We learn from each other and together as a group. You will be encouraged to do the various assignments that you will be given together with other participants in the course. You will also have access to material, your teacher and other participants through Canvas outside of the scheduled lessons. Your active participation is vital for the course!

If a course has a low number of participants you will be offered a place on another course within the seminary

Application forms available in:

Quick Facts

Length: 1 year

Study Pace: Part time (50%)

Type of Instruction: Distance learning (online)
Language of Instruction: Swedish and English

Level: Seminary (there are no prerequisites for this course)

Organizer: Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola

All students need to be at least 18 year old, be officially registered in Sweden and have a sufficient knowledge of the language of instruction.

Fees: Tuition at Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola is free for everyone who is registered (“folkbokförda”) in Sweden.

Service Fees: Students are required to pay a service fee. The service fee for this course is SEK 400 per semester.