Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Seminar: Liturgies of the Early Church

photo of Ephrem Carr OSB

IL: L719; PIL: 94484
KU Leuven: B-KUL-A07I4A

Taught byProfessor Ephrem Carr


This seminar on liturgies of the early church is a comparative study of selected liturgical documents up to the 6th century. Students will examine a selection of early liturgical texts and trace their origin, authorship and context, examine how they have been proclaimed and interpreted and their influence up to the present. Students are helped to learn from each other by seminar presentations and to edit their own work in the light of others presentations. In this way students refine their research skills and may prepare an article for publication or develop a Masters thesis.

Students enrolling for ECTS credit at KU Leuven:

This course is taught at Ealing Abbey, London from 17 to 28 August 2020 for academic year 2020-2021. It is completed before enrolment at KU Leuven at the end of August. To enquire please write to: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT com. After successfully completing this course at Ealing, you may thereafter enrol for this course at KU Leuven to receive KU Leuven study points / ECTS credits.

Dates: 17-28 August 2020
(free days Saturday 22nd , Sunday 23rd)

Hours: 09.30-12.30 (including a break)

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.

Location: Liturgical Institute (at Ealing Abbey),
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK

Previous knowledge

A familiarity with the history of Mediterranean culture is needed in order to understand the context of the documents studied. A familiarity with the history of the christian liturgy and of christian theology is recommended. An understanding of several liturgical texts in their original language or an approved liturgical translation is essential. Preparedness for this course is enhanced by Courses: L701 Research proseminar; L702 History of the Liturgy; L704 Hermeneutics 1; L705 Theology of Liturgy; L712 The Eucharist in history.


During this seminar the students will do the following:

i. in class reading of early liturgical texts in approved  translation or the original language
ii. privately preparing an hermeneutical and historical study and comparative analysis of several early liturgical texts
iii. in class presenting of written work to the seminar group, explaining the study undertaken and discoveries made.
iv. in class learning from others, thus progressing to self-motivated research. Private reflections reviewed in class.
v. integrating of method and learning from other members of the seminar group into a final presentation of a seminar paper.

Course Material

♦ Prex Eucharistica, vol. 1, ed. A. Hänggi – I. Pahl, Éditions Universitaires, Fribourg 1968.

♦ DEISS, L., Springtime of the Liturgy (Classics in Liturgy), Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1979.

♦ JASPER, R.C.D. and CUMING, G.J., Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed, 3d ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990.

♦ A selection of early liturgical texts in the original and/or in an approved liturgical translation.


Description of learning activities

♦ In class and private identifying sources and understanding of texts;
♦ In class and private hermeneutical and theological analysis of the texts;
♦ private completion of analysis and synthetic essay;
♦ in class presentation, discussion and review of work assigned.


Evaluation description

Mode of evaluation: written

Category: evaluation outside normal examination period

Explanation: Participants present their findings in class and have the chance to revise their material, based on class discussion and feedback from the instructor, before making a final presentation. A final written paper of 3,500-4,000 words equivalent to 15-20 pages of text is due by the assigned date.

Evaluation description:

Examination type: written paper (50%), class participation (50%)

When: evaluation outside normal examination period. Two printed copies of the paper are to be delivered to the Registrar by 30 August 2016.

Explanation: Participants present their findings in class and have the chance to revise their material, based on class discussion and feedback from the instructor, before submitting a graduate research paper of 3,500-4,000 words, equivalent to 15-20 pages of text, following the KU Leuven norms.

Criteria for evaluation: Both the regular in class presentations by the students of their ongoing research and the final paper are assessed based on the following:

i. logical organisation of the material and its clear presentation
ii. accuracy of information and analysis,
iii. consistency in style of notes and bibliography,
iv. sources preferably in their original languages,
v. theological accuracy.

Second opportunity to sit the exam: Because this is an intensive summer course, the opportunity for a second exam is by appointment and depends upon the availability of the instructor.

Future topics:

This research seminar is taught on a different topic each year.

in 2012 on the Eucharistic Prayer,
in 2013 on the Eucharist,
in 2014 on Christian Initiation,
in 2015 on Christian Marriage,
in 2016 on the History of Liturgy, which will focus on early liturgical texts.

Note: Students must be over 18 years of age.

This course fulfills IL Certificate in Liturgy programme requirement for a seminar

Dates: Block III

17-21 August (Monday to Friday; Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd are free days)
24-28 August (Monday to Friday)

Students may request to meet with the instructor in the Liturgy Institute outside of class time by appointment.


Limited accommodation is available for students over 18 years of age through Ealing Abbey or other religious houses or nearby.

Residential students may arrange to arrive on Saturday 15, Sunday 16 or Monday morning 17 August 2020 before class begins at 9:30. Students may plan to depart after lecutre ends at 12:30 A.M. on Friday 28 or on Saturday 29 July 2020.

Additional information from KU Leuven course web-site

 Academic year: 2020−2021

 Study points: 4

 Language: English

 Difficulty: Graduate-Advanced

 Duration: 26.0 hours

 Periodicity: Taught annually in Block III

 POC: POC Theology and Religious Studies


This course is included in

Master of Theology and Religious Studies Study Abroad Programme in European Culture and Society (PECS).

A link to the course descriptor at KU Leuven is not yet available, but the course is based on one previously offered (link here).