The Netherlands Center for the Study of Early Christianity

The research institute is supported by the Faculty of Religion and Theology (FRT) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. The directors are Dr. Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte (VU) and Dr. Bart Koet (TST).

The research institute is the successor of the Center for Patristic Studies (CPO), founded in 2008 on the initiative of Dr. Paul van Geest (TST).

Leadership and Shared-Leadership in Late Antique Christianity

Deacons and the Diaconate in Early Christianity

John N. Collins’ seminal work Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources (New York, 1990) provided the impulse for new research into the role and relevance of deacons and deaconesses in the developing Christian Church. Deacons and deaconesses were not just responsible for caritas. They fulfilled an important role both in the network of Christian communities and as assistant-leaders.

Since 2014 the School of Theology (University of Eastern Finland) regularly organizes international and ecumenical research conferences.

The proceedings of the last conference are published in Deacons and Diakonia in Early Christianity: the First Two Centuries edited by Bart J. Koet, Esko Ryökäs, and Edwina Murphy (Tübingen, 2018).

In 2022 the editors hope to publish a second volume on deacons and diakonia in Early Christianity.

Online Seminars

As a follow-up to the 2020 zoom-seminars What Did Deacons Do?, the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology facilitated several series and 'stand alone' webinars on topic on deacons, leadership in the Early Church and on Late Antique Christianity.

You can watch the presentations, please click

Webinar March 8, 2022: Deacons and Leadership in Early Christianity

The scholary work of John N. Collins challenges the traditional view that diakonia refers to an office of service to the needy, especially of service to the poor in a given community.

The webinar will provide several presentations assessing the importance and impact of the academic publication by John N. Collins.

With the participation of: 

Dr Sven Erik Brodd, Uppsala University, Sweden

Dr Anthony Gooley, Catholic Health Australia

Dr Anni Hentschel, University of Würzburg, Germany

Dr Bart J. Koet, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology

Dr Edwina Murphy, Morling College Sydney

Dr Pauliina Pylvänäinen, University of Eastern Finland

& a response by Dr John N. Collins.

To sign up, please click this link.

See our activities for earlier seminars and symposia and the links to watch the presentations.