The Luther Academy (LA) is a higher education institution founded on February 1, 1997 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (ELCL) with the aim of preparing clergy and laity for service in the field of spiritual care and education in ELCL congregations and in state, municipal and non-governmental institutions.
LA has taken over the traditions of Archbishop Jānis Matulis Theological Seminary (1969-1991), founded after World War II. Thus, studies in LA are based in the Christian faith and the Lutheran tradition to encourage and prepare people to fulfill their call and God's call.
Since the 16th century, the Lutheran Church has been an integral part of the Latvian state and cultural development. ELCL clergymen actively participated and supported the efforts to regain the independence of the Latvian state and the development of the restored free state. During the existence of the independent state, both before and after World War II, ELCL has been an active participant in the promotion of public education, moral and traditional values. Church workers represent the presence of the church itself in each local place, so it is important that educated, competent pastors and other Church workers who are able to maintain dialogue with society and cooperate with local municipalities, schools and other institutions serve in almost 300 Lutheran congregations. LA ensures the preparation of such employees, thereby serving the interests of not only the church, but also the whole society.
The operational objectives of Luther Academy correspond to the strategic specialization of LA determined by the ELCL. The main objectives of LA activity are:
· to give students a broad theological academic and professional higher education,
· to develop theological science in Latvia in order to promote the spiritual recovery of society,
· to preserve and create the necessary spiritual-intellectual potential for Latvia and promote its development.
Luther Academy’s objectives, doctrinal and financial basis, operational and management principles are defined by:
- Constitution of the Luther Academy.
Luther Academy academically and practically educates students specifically in the field of theology, specializing in the Lutheran theological tradition.
The sustainability of LA is ensured by:
· the need in society for specialists in the field of mental and spiritual health,
· motivation of students based on the vocation of the Christian faith,
· the long-term and stable presence of the Lutheran Church in Latvian society,
· program offer recognized by Latvian and foreign partners,
· quality benefits provided by accreditation,
· the existence of an accredited study program,
· the need to take care of the country's cultural environment and sacred heritage,
· guaranteed financial and infrastructure stability of ELCL and its partner churches.
An important unique advantage of LA, which sets it apart from other theological universities, is Lutheran education rooted in the Church, which gives the opportunity to implement a holistic learning process in close cooperation with the main employer - ELCL.Luther Academy plays an important role in the development of Latvia's higher education system, as well as in the country's spiritual growth. LA provides studies and research relevant to today, based on the unity of higher education, science and religious thought. LA actively participates in solving current spiritual problems of the state and society, is the center of life based on Latvian Lutheran traditions, while nurturing the national language and culture and promoting the development of the state and society.
Studies at the Luther Academy also include fellowship and common prayers.
Currently, Luther Academy provides 2 study programmes:
- Bachelor study programme “Theology” - state accredited until December 31, 2023;
- Within the framework of lifelong learning, LA Open Academy study programme “Theology and Ministry” - recognized by ELCL.