Father Timothy Blumentritt

Father Timothy Blumentritt was a priest in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). He worked at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, helping with the pastoral care of students. On December 26, 2006, the seminary and the OCA were sued for the sexual abuse of Seminarian Eric J. Kokosinski Iliff by Blumentritt.  The priest, who was already defrocked, was not named as a party to the lawsuit. A copy of the complaint is linked above.

Unfortunately, Iliff took his own life on March 13, 2007. Saint Vladimir’s and the OCA subsequently sought dismissal of the suit with prejudice because no motion for substitution was filed by Iliff’s personal representative within the applicable time limits. However, the Court said that it saw “no basis consistent with due process on which it can now rule on the merits of the claim when the present owners of the claim are not before the Court.” The dismissal of the action was granted, but without prejudice. A copy of the dismissal is also linked above.

According to Coming Home, edited by Peter E. Gillquist, Blumentritt was raised in a small, insular faith community commonly known as the “Plymouth Brethren.” He and his wife converted to Orthodoxy as adults.

Following his conversion, Blumentritt attended Saint Vladimir’s. On May 21, 1994, he  was ordained an OCA deacon by Metropolitan Theodosius Lazor. He was then attached to the Diocese of Washington, which was headed by Lazor. Blumentritt was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1995. He was assigned to Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Terryville, Connecticut, as the priest-in-charge. This parish was, and still is, in the Diocese of New England (DNE). At the time, Lazor was also the head of the DNE.

From 1996 on Blumentritt was also associated with Saint Vladimir’s Seminary as an assistant. Under the auspices of the Dean of Students, he helped in the pastoral care of students.

Blumentritt served the parish in Terryville until sometime in 2000. At that time, he requested an academic leave of absence to attend Boston College for his doctoral studies. During his leave, Blumentritt was attached to Holy Annunciation Church in Maynard, Massachusetts, which is also in the DNE. It is Pokrov’s understanding that he never completed the requirements for this advanced degree.

In August of 2002, at his own request, Blumentritt was released from the DNE to the omophorion of Metropolitan Herman Swaiko. This transfer was made so that he could accept a faculty position at the seminary.

While at Saint Vladimir’s, Blumentritt was an Instructor of Pastoral Theology. As mentioned about, he also counseled students.

Iliff went to Blumentritt for counseling beginning in the fall of 2003. On the evening of June 20, 2005, the seminarian met with Dr. Albert Rossi, a clinical psychologist, and told Rossi that Blumentritt had sexually abused him.

Rossi arranged for Iliff to meet with the dean of the seminary, Father John Erickson, on June 22. Erickson brought the seminarian’s allegations to the attention of the appropriate Church authorities.

Blumentritt was suspended from the priesthood on June 28, 2005 (page 27). He was defrocked on October 18, 2005 (page 27).

Related Civil Case:

Eric Iliff v. St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Inc., and Metropolitan Herman, as corporate sole of the Orthodox Church in America
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
Case Number 06 CIV 15453 (2006)