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Syrian Fathers I


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 resulted 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

By the end of the course, participants will have

  • the ability to describe, both individually and together with other participants, the development and spread of the early church until the Christianization of the Roman Empire
  • developed the skill to describe the different local and competing communities in the early church and connect their relevance to today
  • developed the understanding of the role of Ephrem the Syrian in making the Syrian tradition orthodox
  • acquired a familiarity with themes such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the role of the Mother of God, faith and love
  • broadened their understanding, both individually and in groups, of the role of women in the early Syrian tradition


Students are expected to participate in all course activities, both by being present and playing an active role in scheduled course sessions, and by completing assignments to be done outside of scheduled lessons. If participants miss lessons, they may be required to do extra assignments in order to fulfill the participation requirements of the course. 80% attendance and participation (including completion of assignments) are required for the course to be considered to have been completed.

Additional Information 

Disposition of 50 % course on distance

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

You will have two evening lessons each  week.

The first evening will be related to the specific subject that you have chosen – you will participate in the class and participate in discussion 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 discuss 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 takes place 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 the Canvas platform 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 in another course within the seminary.

Application forms available in:

Quick Facts

Length: 1 year

Study Pace: 50%

Type of Instruction: Distance learning
Language of Instruction: Swedish, English, and Syriac

Level: Seminary

Organizer: Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola

In addition to the requirements stated in the course description, 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 at Sankt Ignatios Folkhögskola:  Students are required to pay a service fee. The service fee for this course is SEK 400 per semester.