As an Orthodox house, the Institute is a Christian community that expects its students to participate fully in its liturgical and social life, and to attach themselves to one of the Orthodox congregations in Cambridge: St Ephraim’s (Russian tradition, worshipping in English), St Athanasius and St Clement (worshiping in Greek and English) and St John the Evangelist (worshiping in Romanian and English).
Students are expected to attend in-house courses on the History of the Church, Research Methods and Study Skills, and on Academic Writing in English. These courses are particularly valuable to overseas students acclimatising to a new academic environment.
A full member of the Cambridge Theological Federation, IOCS interacts with the Anglia Ruskin University and with the University of Cambridge and offers degrees through those universities. At IOCS students study together with colleagues from other traditions in the Cambridge Theological Federation: Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Reformed.
In this diverse context IOCS students are encouraged to articulate and communicate their Orthodox faith and identity. What is an Orthodox understanding of the faith and how is it to be communicated today? How different are the concerns of the Western churches from those of the Orthodox churches? These are questions that Orthodox students face in a protective environment of dialogue and intellectual debate that will equip them to handle such issues in their home communities.
Cambridge offers access to the major libraries of the city and university, to museums, to scholars of note, and to open lectures in many subjects of interest. IOCS itself has a fine library of Orthodox material, much of it bequeathed by Orthodox scholars.
Students are able to attend some of the classes and lectures within the Federation and at the Faculty of Divinity.
Students may improve their language skills for subsequent research by attending courses in Greek, Latin or Hebrew. In many ways the Institute is a gateway through which one enters the range of theological education in Cambridge and the world beyond.
Lecturers at IOCS courses and special events have included: