Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff

Professor of Systematic Theology

Peter Bouteneff teaches courses in ancient and modern theology and spirituality at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, where he is Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of Institutional Assessment. After taking a degree in music in 1983 he lived and worked in Japan, and traveled widely in Asia and Greece. He has an M.Div. from St Vladimir’s Seminary and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied under Bishop Kallistos Ware​. He has worked for many years in theological dialogue, notably as Executive Secretary for Faith and Order at the World Council of Churches, and has written extensively on Orthodox relations with other churches. He has broad interests in theology ancient and modern, but as a great fan of music and cinema he is also committed to exploring the connections between theology and popular culture, regularly offering a course on religious themes in film. He conceived of and edits the widely popular "Foundations" series for SVS Press, to which he has contributed a volume called Sweeter than Honey: Orthodox Thinking on Dogma and Truth. In 2008 he authored a study of how early Christians read the Genesis creation accounts, called Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives.

Prof. Bouteneff co-directs the Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir's Seminary, an in-depth endeavor involving concerts, lectures, and publications. His most recent book is Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence, that has been hailed as "a triumph," "a game-changer for Pärt scholarship," and "a must-read for any listener or performer of Pärt's music."

  • B.Mus., New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, 1983
  • M.Div., St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1990
  • M.Phil. in Theology/Patristic Theology, Oxford University, 1992
  • D.Phil. in Theology, Oxford University, 1997

Dissertations & Theses

  • D.Phil. Dissertation: "The Theological Value of Christ's Human Soul in the Cappadocian Fathers" (supervisor: Bp Kallistos Ware)
  • M.Phil. Thesis: "The Human Soul of Christ According to St Gregory Nazianzen" (supervisors: Bp Kallistos Ware, Maurice Wiles)
  • M.Div. Thesis: "The History, Hagiography and Humor of the Fools for Christ." (supervisor: Fr John Meyendorff)


  • Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence (Yonkers, NY: SVS Press, 2015)
  • Beginnings: Early Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008).
  • Sweeter than Honey: Orthodox Thinking on Dogma and Truth (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2006).
  • Beyond the East-West Divide: The WCC and "The Orthodox Problem" (Geneva: WCC, 2001), with Anna Marie Aagaard.
  • (ed., with Dagmar Heller) Interpreting Together: Essays in Hermeneutics (Geneva: WCC, 2001).
  • (ed., with Alan Falconer) Episkopé and Episcopacy and the Quest for Visible Unity (Geneva: WCC, 1999). 
  • (ed., with Thomas FitzGerald) Turn to God—Rejoice in Hope: Orthodox Reflections On the Way to Harare (Geneva: WCC, 1998). 
  • (ed., intr.) Daily Readings in Orthodox Spirituality (Springfield, IL: Templegate, 1996).

SVS Press Foundations Series
  (Founder and Editor)

  • Edited and introduced:
    • Mary B. Cunningham, Mary, Mother of God and Mother of Life in Orthodox Tradition (2015 fc.)
    • Augustine Casiday, Remembering the Days of Old: Orthodox Thinking on the Patristic Heritage (2013).
    • Norman Russell, Fellow Workers with God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis (2009).
    • Elizabeth Theokritoff, Living in God's Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology (2009).
    • John and Lyn Breck, Stages on Life's Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics (2005).
    • John Garvey, Seeds of the Word: Orthodox Thinking on Other Faiths (2005).

Audio Course

  • "The Orthodox Christian Church: Its History, Beliefs, and Practices," 24-lecture audio course on CD, published by Now You Know Media, August 2008.


  • "War and Peace: Providence and the Interim," in Perry Hamalis and Valerie Karras, eds, Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War (Notre Dame University Press, 2016.).
  • Ed., with Michel Stavrou and Ioan Tulcan, Dogma and Terminology in the Orthodox Tradition Today: Fourth International Symposium of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology (Sibiu: Astra Museum, 2015).
  • "What Do We Do With This? Ecumenical Implications of the Handling of the Eucharist," in Michael Root and James Buckley, Eds, What Does it Mean to "Do This"? Supper, Mass, Eucharist, Pro Ecclesia Series, 4 (Eugene, OR: Cascade/Wipf and Stock, 2014), 74-87.
  • "Patriarch Bartholomew as a Leader in the Orthodox Church," in William G. Rusch, ed., The Witness of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch (Eerdmans, 2013).
  • "The World Council of Churches: An Orthodox Perspective," in John A. Radano, Celebrating a Century of Ecumenism: Exploring the Achievements of International Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012).
  • "Ecclesiology and Ecumenism," in Augustine Casiday, ed., The Orthodox Christian World (Routledge, 2012), 369-382.
  • "Liberation: Challenges to Modern Orthodox Theology from the Contextual Theologies," in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 63 (2012), 24-33.
  • "Dionysius the Areopagite," "Oriental Orthodox Churches," and "Paradise," in John A. McGuckin, ed., The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity (Blackwell, 2011).
  • "Whatever That Was! Paradise According to Gregory of Nazianzus," Studia Patristica 47 (2010), 141-146.
  • "Ecumenical Ecclesiology and the Language of Unity," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 44 (2009).
  • "Christ and Salvation," in Mary Cunningham Corran and Elizabeth Theokritoff, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2008), 93-106.
  • "Orthodox Church, Russian, History of, and Theological Characteristics," in Daniel M. Patte, ed., Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (Cambridge University Press, 2008), with Nadieszda Kizenko.
  • "The Two Wills of God: Providence in St John of Damascus," Studia Patristica 42 (2006), 291-296.
  • "Koinonia and Eucharistic Unity: An Orthodox Response," in Liturgy 20 (2005), 57-65 (revision of publication in The Ecumenical Review—see below).
  • (With A.M. Allchin), substantial revision and enlargement of Rowan Williams, "Eastern Orthodox Theology," in David F. Ford, ed., The Modern Theologians, third edn. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005).
  • "Reading the Lives of the Saints: Metaphors, Miracles, and Inter-Orthodox Rapprochement," in Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, Johannes Nissen, eds., Cracks in the Walls: Essays on Spirituality, Ecumenicity, and Ethics (Festchr. Anna Marie Aagaard), (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2004), 131-140.
  • "The Mystery of Union: Elements in an Orthodox Sacramental Theology," in Geoffrey Rowell, Christine Hall, eds., Gestures of God: Explorations in Sacramental Theology (London/New York: Continuum, 2004), 91-107.
  • "Jesus in the Orthodox Tradition," in J.L. Houlden, ed., Jesus in History, Culture and Thought: An Encyclopedia (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2004).
  • "Eastern Orthodoxy," in Hans Hillerbrand, ed., Encyclopedia of Protestantism (Routledge, 2003).
  • "Freedom and Faithfulness," in Michael Plekon, ed., Tradition Alive: On the Church and the Christian Life in Our Time, (Sheed & Ward/Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 257-261. (In the same volume: translation from Russian of S. Bulgakov, "Dogma and Dogmatic Theology," 67-80.)
  • "What Kind of Fool Am I: Further Gleanings from Holy Folly," in John Behr, et al., eds., Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West (Festschr. Kallistos Ware), (SVS Press, 2003), 335-349.
  • "The Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC: An Introduction," The Ecumenical Review 55 (2003), 49-55.
  • "A Broader and Deeper Fellowship? Orthodox Participation in the WCC and its implications for the Roman Catholic Church," One In Christ, 38.i (2003), 3-15.
  • "The Porvoo Common Statement: An Orthodox Response," in Ola Tjørhom, ed., Apostolicity and Unity: Essays on the Porvoo Common Statement (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Geneva: WCC, 2002), 231-244.
  • "All Creation in United Thanksgiving: Gregory of Nyssa and the Wesleys on Salvation," S.T. Kimbrough, ed., Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2002), 189-201. 
  • "Placing the Christology of Didymus the Blind, Studia Patristica 23 (2001), 389-395.
  • "Koinonia and Eucharistic Unity: An Orthodox Response," The Ecumenical Review 52 (2000), 72-80. 
  • "Koinonia et communion eucharistique: Un point de vue Orthodoxe," Irénikon 73 (2000) [French translation of previous]. 
  • "Essential or Existential: The Problem of the Body in the Anthropology of St Gregory of Nyssa," in H.R. Drobner and A. Viciano, edd., Gregory of Nyssa: Homilies on the Beatitudes—An English Version with Commentary and Supporting Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 409-19.
  • "The Human Person and the Person of Christ," Sobornost / Eastern Churches Review 22 (1999), 22-36.
  • "Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians: Realizing Unity," St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 42 (1998), 153-69.
  • "Holy Work: The Orthodox Churches, the WCC and the Upcoming Assembly," WCC Feature Service No. 5, 1998 [translated into nine languages] . 
  • "Orthodox Ecumenism: A Contradiction in Terms?," In Communion 9 (July 1997), 1-8 -- reprinted in Sourozh 69 (August 1997). See also " Speaking to the Responses", the author's rejoinder, in In Communion 11 (January 1998).
  • "Soteriological Imagery in Gregory of Nyssa's Antirrheticus," Studia Patristica 22 (1996), 81-86.
  • "The Timeless Steps Into Time: The Icon in the Vision of E.N. Trubestkoi," Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 10/11 (1994-1995), 675-85.
  • "Physis: A Test Case in the Christian Adaptation of Greek Philosophical Terminology" in K. Boudouris, ed., Philosophy and Orthodoxy (Athens, 1994), 105-15.
  • "Filosofija ij Teologija: Ontologija ij Terminologija," Filosofske Studije, Journal of the Belgrade Philosophical Institute 6 (1993), 327-35 . 
  • "St Gregory Nazianzen and Two-Nature Christology," St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 38 (1994), 255-270.
  • "The Word Celebrated and Received" (in French), at the symposium "La Parole de Dieu appele à l'unité," Benedictine Monastery of Chevetogne, Belgium, November 16-17, 2012.
  • Keynote address, Orthodox Institute: Culture, Morality, Spirituality, Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA November 1-3, 2012.
  • "'What Do We Do With This?' Ecumenical Implications in the Handling of the Eucharist," Annual Pro Ecclesia Conference, Loyola University, Baltimore, MD, June 13, 2012.
  • "Mary in Orthodox Teaching and Worship," Anglican/Orthodox Sub-Committee of the New York Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, May 20, 2012.
  • "Sweeter Than Honey: Living the Truth in an Age of Relativism," Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Cincinnati, OH, March 31, 2012.
  • "Finding Christ in Popular Culture," St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Wyckoff, NJ, March 28.
  • "Orthodoxy and Ethnicity: Making Sense of the US Orthodox Landscape Today," Keynote Address at the 2012 Huffington Ecumenical Institute, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, March 16, 2012.
  • "Relativism, Tolerance, and Heresy: Negotiating the Waters," Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Ottawa, ON, July 16, 2011.
  • "The Transfiguration of Reason in Dionysius the Ps. Areopagite," Third International Conference of the International Association of Orthodox Dogmatic Theologians, Thessaloniki, June 23-26, 2011.
  • "Orthodox Perspectives on Jesus," Five Cultural Perspectives on Jesus series, Trinity Wall Street, New York, April 5, 2011.
  • "Tradition and the Discernment of Truth," Princeton University Lecture, October 5, 2010.
  • "The Place of Adam in the Paschal Life of the Church," St Mary's Antiochian Church, Cambridge, MA, April 17, 2010.
  • "Genesis 1-3 in Early Christian Understanding," class and public lecture at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, February 1, 2010.
  • "The Theologian is One Who Prays: Theology and Spirituality," New Skete Monastery Annual Pilgrimage, August 8, 2009.
  • "Adam in Modern Orthodox Understanding," Second International Conference of the International Association of Orthodox Dogmatic Theologians, Arad, Romania, June 11-13, 2009.
  • "Discernment in the Early Church," Conference on Spiritual Discernment as Christian Leadership, George Fox University, Newberg, OR, June 1-3, 2009.
  • "Adam, Where Are You? (Gen. 3:9)" 13th Western European Orthodox Congress, Amiens, France, May 1-3, 2009.
  • "Learning from Genesis 1-3," Lenten Retreat, St Jacob of Alaska Orthodox Church, Northfield Falls, VT, April 4-5, 2009.
  • "A Parting of Ways? Christians and Jews in the Early Centuries," Stuart Polly lecturer, with Rabbi Seth Schwartz, at B'nai Jeshurun, New York, NY, February 5, 12, 19, 26, 2009.
  • "Challenges of Orthodox Ecclesiology in the Ecumenical Sphere," Keynote address, North American Academy of Ecumenists, September 26, 2008.
  • Weekend Retreat on Sweeter than Honey, Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, Medford, NJ, March 29-30, 2008.
  • "Praying the Liturgy," St Vladimir's Seminary Liturgical Institute of Music and Pastoral Practice, June 26, 2007.
  • "Teaching Orthodox Dogmatic Theology in America," International Association of Orthodox Dogmatic Theologians, Arad, Romania, June, 2007.
  • "What Happens When We Die?," St Vladimir's Seminary Liturgical Institute of Music and Pastoral Practice, June 30, 2006. (Delivered also in New Haven, CT, Oct. 16, 2006, and Bridgeport, CT, Oct. 24, 2006.)
  • "Jesus in Film," St Vladimir's Seminary Liturgical Institute of Music and Pastoral Practice, June 21&22, 2005.
  • "The Meaning of Angels," Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New York, NY, February 16, 2005.
  • "Looking towards the Future: Ecclesiological Implications and Challenges," Inter-Orthodox Pre-Assembly Meeting, Rhodes, Greece January 10-17, 2005.
  • "Saints in the Age of the Simpsons," Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, Berkeley, CA, October 26, 2004. Radio program on same topic at Come Receive the Light, May 21, 2005.
  • "Saints, Metaphors, Miracles, and Inter-Orthodox Rapprochement," Eastern-Oriental Orthodox Symposium, St Vladimir's Seminary, March 16, 2004.
  • "Screening the Sacred: Jesus in Film," Holy Resurrection Church, Wayne, NJ, November 16, 2003.
  • "Sacraments, Mysteries, and Miracles: An Introduction to the Unthinkable," and "The Grace of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church," 14th Annual Festival of Icons, Warren, OH, November 1, 2003.
  • "Elements in an Orthodox Sacramental Theology," International Ecumenical Colloquium on Sacramentality, Windsor Castle, UK, September 28-October 2, 2003).
  • "Tradition and traditions," St Vladimir's Seminary Liturgical Institute of Music and Pastoral Practice (June 26, 2003), and Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, New Haven, CT (October 13, 2003).
  • "Orthodoxy in America Today: The Spiritual Problem," St Basil's Church, Watervliet, NY (September 26, 2002) and Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, New Haven, CT (October 21, 2002). 
  • "Teaching Dogmatic Theology in the 21st Century," Orthodox Theological Society of America, Brookline, MA (June 5, 2002).
  • "And the Word Became Flesh: The Humanity of Jesus Christ," Orthodox Christian Fellowship, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (March 14, 2002).
  • "Burning Issues in the Orthodox Church Today," Syndesmos Fiftieth Anniversary Consultation, Château de Bossey, Switzerland. (March 29, 1999)
  • "Orthodoxy Facing the Third Millennium," Syndesmos Summer Institute, Suprasl, Poland (August 1, 1998).
  • "The Limits of the Church Re-examined," Orthodox Theological Society in America, Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, MA (June 5, 1998).
  • "Inter-Orthodox Unity: Gift and Calling," Orthodox Youth Movement, Beirut, Lebanon (September 18, 1997).
  • "The Human Body: Questions and Answers from the Early Christian Centuries," Institute of Religion, Houston, TX (July 21, 1997).
  • Response to the paper "Baptism, Ecclesiology and Vocation", WCC Consultation "Towards a Common Understanding of the Theological Concepts of Laity/Laos: The People of God", Le Cénacle, Geneva, (May 7-10, 1997).
  • "Orthodox Perspectives on Baptism," Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland. (April 22, 1997).
  • "The Holy Fool in the East: Clown or Ascetic?", American Academy of Religion Tri-Regional Conference, Boston, MA (March 30, 1995).
Church & Professional Activities: 

Professional Affiliations and Experience

  • Senior Fellow, The Sophia Institute, 2010-present.
  • Elected Vice President, International Association of Orthodox Dogmatic Theologians (IAODT), 2007-present.
  • Member, Advisory Board, Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, 2007-present.
  • Doctoral Committee (Adjunct Faculty), Union Institute and University, for Stefanie Yazge, 2004-2011.
  • Accreditation Review Committee, Board of Regents of the State of New York, for Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, NY, October 2006.
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Ecclesiology, 2005-present.
  • Editorial Advisory Board, International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, 2005-present.
  • Associate Professor in Systematic Theology (tenured), St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, July 2008-present.
  • Assistant Professor in Dogmatic Theology, St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, July, 2000-June 2008. 
  • Executive Secretary, Faith and Order Commission, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland, 1995-2000.
  • Teaching Assistant in Dogmatic Theology, St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1993-94.
  • Assistant Warden / Assistant to the Director, St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality, Oxford, 1991-93.

 Church Activities

  • Member, Orthodox Church in America Canonization Commission, 2004-present.
  • Member, Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 2003-present.
  • Member, Joint Commission of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA) and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH), 2003-2011.
  • Consultant, Department of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, Orthodox Church in America, 2001-present.
  • Consultant to the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, 2000-2003.
  • Parish Council, Paroisse Orthodoxe Francophone de Genève, Chambésy, Switzerland, 1997-1999 .
  • Parish Council, Orthodox Parish of the Annunciation, Oxford, England, 1991-1993.