The Institute for Higher Religious Culture [IHRC] in Lublin was founded by the decree of Bishop Leon Fulman, the Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Lublin, on 10 December 1938. The teaching program covered the principles of Christian philosophy, dogmatic and moral theology, history of religion, the Old and the New Testament, Church history, canon law, Church liturgy, Catholic sociology and Catholic Action. Resuming the institute's activity after the Second World War Stefan Wyszyński, the Bishop of Lublin ratified "The Temporary Statute of the Institute for Higher Religious Culture", which remained binding until 2007. Pope John XXIII was announced the patron of the Institute in 1964, on the 25th anniversary of its foundation. In chronological order the Institute was headed by: Rev.Prof. Antoni Słomkowski (1946-1951), Rev.Prof. Feliks Gryglewicz (1951-1954), Rev. Prof. Bolesław Pylak (1954-1956), Rev. Prof. Jerzy Grzywacz (1956-1975), Rev.Prof. Jerzy Misiurek (1975-1985), Rev. Edward Pohorecki PhD (1985-2003), Rev. Stanisław Sieczka PhD (since 2003).
Since 1968 advisory centres have been created in Warsaw, Cracow, Poznań, Łódź, and Rzeszów. In 1973 lectures started in Cracow, since 1974 they have been given in Katowice and since 1980 in Suwałki. Similar centres emerged later in Włocławek (1983), Chełm Lubelski (1986), Piła (1987, Zamość (1987), Puławy (1987), Kazimierz Dolny (1989), Lwów (1994).

Interesting Facts.
Lectures at the Institute were given by future Cardinals: Stefan Wyszyński and Karol Wojtyła, as well as many other distinguished professors of the Catholic University of Lublin. The students came from all over the country (they often used materials sent by the secretary's office of the IHRC in Lublin) including both university students and working persons. About 30% of them were university graduates. For example, in the academic year 1974/75 the overall number of 793 students included 7 students with doctoral degree and 82 with master's degree. The number of students amounted as follows: to 378 in the years 1946/47, to 486 in the years 1957/58, to 869 in the years 1966/67, to 793 in the years 1974/75, to 1419 in the years 1983/84, to 350 in the years 1994/95, and to 160 in the years 2006/7.Up to the year 2004 the Institute awarded 5164 diplomas.
Since 1976 the Institute's program has been undertaken by the Congregation of Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit in Racibórz, since 1981 by Salesian Sisters in Dzierżonów and Pogrzebień, since 1983 by the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters Missionaries of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Łabunie. In the years 1984-89 the IHRC organized one year courses in Catholic social science. In the years 1979-82, on each Sunday the professors of IHRC gave lectures for intellectual circles at the Church of the Holiest Heart of Jesus in Lublin.

Since 2007 the Institute has been spreading the teaching of John Paul II on a wider scale exploring the most crucial aspects of his theological, moral, social and philosophical thought in a series of annual lectures as well as in occasionally organized talks. Popularisation of John Paul II thought is encouraged by the vast spiritual and intellectual legacy he left behind, which constitutes an inexhaustible source of Christian wisdom.

IHRC is a didactic-formative unit which provides secular Catholics with education in the range of humanistic and religious knowledge; it offers lectures in philosophical, theological and social-humanistic disciplines which draw upon the most crucial issues of human life in its individual and social dimension. A special series of lectures is dedicated to the teaching of John Paul II.

All persons possessing higher or secondary education can become students of the Institute. The Institute's Statute allows participation in the courses for three categories of students:
● full-time (regular) students who attend lectures and are obliged to take exams;
● extramural students who do not attend lectures but are required to learn the material
and take exams;
● unenrolled students who attend lectures but are not required to take exams;

The teaching program covers three years with approximately 120 hours per year. The lectures take place during the academic year on Fridays in the main building of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin from 16:00 to 20:00. Exams are administered when a series of lectures on a given subject comes to an end. The studies lead to a graduation diploma of the Institute for Higher Religious Culture.

Currently the teaching program covers the following fields:
Year I: anthropology, philosophy of culture, Church history, liturgical science, the teaching of John Paul II, sociology and media, fundamental sociology, introduction to philosophy;
Year II: ethics, history, the teaching of John Paul II, The Holy Scripture, psychology, theodicy, dogmatic theology, general moral theology;
Year III: Christology, Catholic social science, the teaching of John Paul II, pedagogy, the Holy Scripture, religiology, detailed moral theology.

Through a great variety of lectures the Institute for Higher Religious Culture strives to meet the interests and expectations of the contemporary Catholic who without a thorough knowledge finds it more and more difficult to function in a pluralistic world let alone shape it.