Eastern Orthodox priest defrocked

Author: Michael Schmidt
Date Published: 07/02/2009

The Rev. Simeon Gitlis is accused of molesting a female resident in the 1990s.

BOSCOBEL, Wis. — An Eastern Orthodox priest has been defrocked after allegations of sexual misconduct against a resident of a Boscobel monastery.

The Rev. Simeon Gitlis was removed as Abbod of St. Isaac of Syria Skete and returned to the status of simple monk on March 28, the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia confirmed Wednesday.

Gitlis is accused of sexually molesting a female resident of St. Isaac of Syria Skete, according to a press release from The Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Diocese’s letter to the complainant, obtained by SNAP, notes the misconduct allegedly took place between May 1995 and February 1999.

”It is our policy upon receipt of a written complaint to suspend any clergy against whom allegations are made,” wrote a representative of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese in the letter. ”The Very Reverend Simeon Gitlis was suspended in accordance with that policy. Since then, he has not served as a priest nor otherwise been permitted to engage in other priestly duties, including pastoral care.”

A diocese spokesman offered no further comment and was not aware of Gitlis’ whereabouts since the defrocking.

A call to St. Isaac of Syria Skete seeking comment was not returned Wednesday.