Dr Peter C. Bouteneff

Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff

Dr Peter C. Bouteneff

Professor of Systematic Theology



Dr 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 Kulik Professor of Sacred Arts. 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 Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. He 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 conceived of and edits the 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.

Dr Bouteneff's passionate interest in exploring the connections between theology and culture led to the Arvo Pärt Project, which he co-founded and has directed since 2012. His book, Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence, has been hailed as "a triumph," "a game-changer," and "a must-read for any listener or performer of Pärt's music.” He subsequently co-edited Arvo Pärt: Sounding the Sacred in 2021.

Professor Bouteneff is founding director of the Institute of Sacred Arts, through which the Seminary offers public events, academic symposia, publications, and a curriculum infused with beauty.

His most recent book, How to Be a Sinner, is an SVS Press bestseller, and Dr Bouteneff has given dozens of talks and parish retreats on the subject. Look for his next publication, Jesus for Introverts: Interiority and the Spiritual Life, appearing soon.


Teaching Interests

  • Orthodox Christian Theology
  • Jesus Christ and how we know him
  • The Music and Faith of Arvo Pärt
  • How to Be a Sinner: Understanding the "Sinner Identity" in Christian Spirituality
  • What Genesis 1-3 Meant to the Ancient Christians
  • Ecumenism: The Movement to Unite Christians
  • Eastern Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox Dialogue
  • Finding God in Popular Culture
  • Finding Christ in the Movies
  • Saints and Sanctity Yesterday and Today

Current Projects and Research Interests

  • Theology and the Arts
  • Theological Aesthetics
  • Jesus for Introverts