The Statutes of the Association was adopted in 1965; modified in 1979, 1987, 2003 and 2012.
1. The purpose of the International Association of Patristic Studies (I.A.P.S.), founded on June 26th 1965, by a group of scholars at a colloquium in Paris, is to promote the study of Christian antiquity, especially the Fathers of the Church, without prejudice to works already undertaken in this domain in various countries. The Association is in no way intended to take the place of institutions, publications and conferences already in existence.
2. The I.A.P.S. proposes by whatever means are appropriate to bring into liaison and mutual communication qualified persons whose work in one way or other concerns Patristic research, especially those engaged in imparting instruction in this field and responsible for orienting and directing research, as well as directors of collections, editions, reviews, encyclopedias and diverse publications.
3. The Association will strive chiefly to procure for its Members precise data on works planned or in progress in different research centres, and to communicate this information in an annual bulletin as well as in a biennial directory.
4. a) Anyone accepted by the Executive Committee may be admitted to membership. Anyone who is recommended by a national correspondent may be admitted directly by the President also between the meetings of the Executive Committee.
b) All members who have paid their annual dues have the right to receive the Bulletin d’information et de liaison and the biennial directory. Those who do not remit their membership dues for more than two consecutive years will have their names removed from the list of members.
5. The Council is composed of delegates elected for four years by the members of the Association. Each nation or region is entitled to a number of seats in the Council in proportion to the number of members in that nation or region. The Executive Committee decides on the number of seats for each nation or region. The election of the Council by the members of the Association has to be finalized three months before the meeting of the Council. The national or regional correspondent is responsible for the election. Delegates may be re-elected. In addition to the elected members the Executive Committee is ex officio part of the Council.
6. The Council meets every four years or when the Executive Committee so decides. The meetings of the Council are convened and led by the President of the Association in collaboration with the Executive Committee. The duty of the council is to:
a) elect the President of the Association for a period of four years;
b) elect two Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer and a Secretary, who together with the President form the Executive Committee;
c) decide on the annual dues to be paid to the Association;
d) decide on any changes of the statutes. Proposals for changes need a two-thirds majority to be adopted.
7. Decisions of the Council shall be valid only if they are taken during a meeting comprising at least half the designated Delegates. In order to be represented at the Council, absent Delegates must appoint a Delegate from amongst their national group, or else a member who, although not elected, obtained a significant number of votes. In any case the number of Delegates actually present must not be less than fifteen. In order to be passed, every motion must receive a majority of the votes cast; for revision of the Statutes, a two-thirds majority is required.
8. The Executive Committee comprises a President, two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The President and the two Vice-Presidents are to be of different nationalities. The Committee is elected for four years by the Council. The international character of the Association is to be maintained, so far as possible, by an equitable representation of the different branches of research within the Council and the Committee. The Executive Committee meets at least once every year. It is entitled to co-opt members in order to have important nations or regions represented at its meetings. The Executive Committee is responsible for the admission of new members, for the publication of a Bulletin and an Annuaire, for the convening of the Council and for the appointment of a nomination group for upcoming elections of a new Executive Committee.
9. The Executive Committee appoints national or regional correspondents of the Association. Every nation or region represented in the Association should have an Association correspondent, whose tasks are:
a) to collect information about patristic studies from the members and the various centres of research and send these annually to the Secretary of the Association in time for publication in the Bulletin.
b) to collect membership dues from the members of the Association in the nation or region and report yearly to the Treasurer on membership and the payment of dues, unless dues from that nation or region are paid directly to the central account of the Association.
c) to arrange the election of members of the Council (see § 5) from their respective areas.
d) to promote the work of the Association and encourage doctoral students and scholars in the field of Patristics to become members.
10. The Executive Committee may convene a General Assembly open to all members of the Association in connection with an International Conference attended by a large number of members. The purpose of such an Assembly is to inform members about the work of the Association, and to enable members to present suggestions for the work of the Association.
11. The Association has Rules of Procedure which describe its internal operations. The Rules of Procedure, as well as any modifications to them, are adopted by vote by Council.
Like most French philanthropic, cultural and sports associations, which number in the hundreds of thousands, the I.A.P.S. is an Association governed by the Law of July 1, 1901: although the majority of its members are nationals of other countries, its headquarters is located in Paris, France, in the Bibliothèque d’Histoire des Religions attached to the Université Paris IV-Sorbonne. In accordance with the 1901 law, the Statutes of the I.A.P.S. (and successive amendments) have been deposited with the Préfecture de Police de Paris and any changes to the Executive Committee must also be reported to the Préfecture.