Evolution of the Church

This course explores different stages of the church’s evolution from the apostolic era to our time and how these changes came to be reflected in ecclesiological doctrines. It demonstrates how the church’s self-awareness and administrative structures regularly changed under the influence of internal and external circumstances. The course surveys the impact of various socio-political environments on the church, such as Roman, Muslim, and secular influences. It sheds light on the history of Christian divisions and attempts at ecumenical reconciliation.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically discern between the mutable and immutable aspects of the church.
  • with a high degree of independence analyze the evolution of the mutable aspects of the church from ancient Roman times through to the twentieth century.
  • Identify and evaluate the issues that led to church divisions in the past.
  • Suggest new, creative ways to overcome the present situration and to prevent potential divisions.
  • Synthesize new, innovative patterns of interaction for the church with other religions and secular spaces.

The course literature may be subject to revision.

  • Prusak, Bernard P. , 2004. The Church Unfinished: Ecclesiology Through The Centuries. Mahwah New Jersey: Paulist Press International,U.S.. (400 p.)

  • Hjälm , Michael , 2011. Liberation of the Ecclesia: the Unfinished Project of Liturgical Theology. Södertälje Stockholm : Anastasis Media AB. (300 p.)

  • Haight, Roger D. , 2004. Christian Community in History: Historical Ecclesiology. vol. 1 London & New York : T.& T.Clark Ltd & Continuum International Publishing Group. (400 p.)

  • Hovorun , Cyril, 2015. Meta-Ecclesiology: Chronicles on Church Awareness . 1 edition Camden London : Macmillian Palgrave. (150 p.)

  • Valliere, Paul, 2014. Conciliarism: a History of Decision-Making in the Church. 1 edition Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press. (250 p.)

  • Norton, Peter , 2007. Episcopal Elections 250-600: Hierarchy and Popular Will in Late Antiquity. 1 edition Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. (250 p.)

  • Vgenopoulos, Maximos, 2013. Primacy in the Church from Vatican I to Vatican II: An Orthodox Perspective (NIU Series in Orthodox Christian Studies). Dekalb Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. (150 p.)

  • Stone , Brian P, 2012. A Reader in Ecclesiology. 1 edition Oxford & New York : Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. (250 p.)

The schedule is available at the latest one month before the course starts. We do not recommend that you print the schedule as some changes may happen.

Open the Schedule

Cyril Hovorun

Professor of Ecclesiology, International Relations and Ecumenism


A = Excellent, B = Very good, C = Good, D = Satisfactory, E = Sufficient, Fx = Insufficient, F = Insufficient

Examination Format

  • Papers
  • Seminars
  • Take-home examination

A Bachelor’s degree in Theology (equivalent to the Swedish Kandidatexamen) from an internationally recognized university. Proficiency in English through an internationally recognized test, e. g. TOEFL, IELTS, or the equivalent.

Established by Subject Representative College at Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm on December 12, 2020.