News of the St Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute

Off to a good start at Radboud University

The St Irenaeus Institute has been warmly welcomed by Radboud University. Staff members feel very much at home at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, the open culture of which suits our institute well.

We adapted the Pre-Master programme Orthodox Christianity to the structure of our new academic home. This structure allows us to extend the Pre-Master to 60 European Credits instead of the former 30 EC. For students who completed a 30 EC Pre-Master at VU, it will be possible to take the additional courses at Radboud as of September 2022. The courses will be offered almost entirely online, in a blended-learning format.

At this moment in time completing the Pre-Master Orthodox Christianity successfully, allows students to enrol in the Master Programme Geestelijke Verzorging (Spiritual Care). This Master programme is offered in Dutch by the Faculty itself. St Irenaeus staff can, however, assist students when writing their thesis. This Master prepares students for employment as a Spiritual Caregiver in hospitals and other care institutions, in prisons or in the military.

The growing Orthodox community in The Netherlands is also in need of adacemic researchers to help (re)discover our tradition through a contemporary lens. For this reason, we are exploring the possibility of creating a course which would lead to the 1-year Master Theology programme, as well as creating an Orthodox track within this Master programme. Prospective students have already shown a keen interest in such a course. We are also considering a Pre-Master programme in English, for those who are not proficient in the Dutch language.

St Irenaeus relocates to Radboud University

Board and staff are pleased to reproduce the following announcement on the website of Radboud University:

Read the article here.

Below the announcement on the website of our new university is reproduced in full:

St Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute will relocate to Radboud University in Nijmegen on 1 July 2021, leaving its former base at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. To this end the board of St Irenaeus entered into a cooperation agreement with the Executive Board of Radboud University. St Irenaeus Institute offers education at an academic level and conducts research in the field of both Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christianity.

St Irenaeus was founded in 2020 and is named after the first great theologian of the (undivided) Christian Church: St Irenaeus of Lyons. The institute is the successor to the Amsterdam Centre for Orthodox Theology, which was established in 2010 as the Amsterdam Centre for Eastern Orthodox Theology. Rector of St Irenaeus, Dr. Michael Bakker: ‘This was an important step in the emancipation of the quarter million people with an Orthodox background in the Netherlands. We are grateful to VU for allowing us to take our first steps at this university with its inspiring history.’

Chairman of St Irenaeus, Professor Arno Akkermans: ‘When, after our pioneering phase, we started looking for a permanent home for the institute, Radboud University was the obvious choice. This university houses the related Institute for Eastern Christianity (IVOC) and its professional library contains the literature we need for our research.’ 

What is Orthodox Christianity?
Orthodox Christianity is one of the three major movements within Christianity (alongside the Roman Catholic and Protestant movements), comprising both churches based in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe and churches rooted in the Middle East and Africa. Some of these churches already have a long tradition in the Netherlands, others were established in the Netherlands relatively recently as migrant workers and refugees found a new home in this country. Orthodox is often written with a capital letter in this context to distinguish it from the adjective ‘orthodox’, which is mainly used to indicate the more conservative groups within religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Spiritual care
The main task of St Irenaeus as an Orthodox seminary is to provide clergy and chaplains needed in the growing number of Orthodox parishes and for pastoral work in the prison system, armed forces and in care institutions. In addition to the educational programmes, St Irenaeus’s professors conduct academic research, in which more and more of their students are showing an interest.

Professor Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies: ‘We would like to welcome our new colleagues from St Irenaeus to the faculty. They are now busy setting up their educational programmes and we hope to mark their arrival with a symposium in their new environment soon. We look forward to a fruitful and stimulating collaboration in both education and research.’

Registration Pre-Master and Minors Orthodox Christianity

The St Irenaeus staff is expanding the institute’s educational programme. Information concerning the Pre-Master Orthodox Christianity can be found here and concerning the Minor courses here. If you are interested in taking part in one of these programmes, then please register via the forms available on these webpages.