St Irenaeus was founded in 2020 and is named after the first great theologian of the (undivided) Christian Church: St Irenaeus of Lyon. 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 Amsterdam 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.’
Dean of the Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam Ruard Ganzevoort: "It is great to see that the ministerial training program has matured with our support. We wish students, staff and the Orthodox religious community a good time in Nijmegen."
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.