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 two series of online seminars in February and May 2021. To watch the presentations, please click


All in Common. Early Christian Economy

Online Symposium, October 15, 2021, 15.00-16.30  

15 October 2021, 3-4.30 PM (GMT +2)

         Chair: Dr. Bart Koet, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology

        Some Thoughts on the Economy in Early Christian Communities,  Dr Jonathan Cornillon,
Sorbonne, Paris IV

        A Reaction, Dr Paul van Geest, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology

Dr Jonathan Cornillon is a lecturer at the department of department of Ancient History, Orient et Mediteranée, of Sorbone University. The topic of the symposium is his   book, Tout en commun ? La vie économique de Jésus et des premières générations chrétiennes (Cerf Patrimoines, 2020). 

To sign up, please click this link.

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