Bishop of San Francisco

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In North America, one of the most important and major Sees in the Orthodox Church belongs to the Bishop of San Francisco. Up until the 1920s, only one see with this title "bishop of San Francisco" existed, under the Omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church. When communism came to power in Russia, the Orthodox Church in the Americas was left to fend for itself. To further complicate things, the Greek Archdiocese established the "diocese of San Francisco" under the auspices of the Greek Archdiocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Years later the Metropolia (later the OCA) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia broke into two jurisdictions in America and the diocese in San Francisco was divided into two amongst the Russians. There is also a Serbian bishop of Western America whose seat is in Alhambra and an Antiochian bishop of Western America whose seat is in Los Angeles.

Until a general council of Orthodox bishops is convened, this uncanonical situation is tolerated.

Bishops of San Francisco

Recognised as such by the OCA, the ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Moscow.

  • Bp. John (Mitropolsky) 1870-1876 Transferred the Cathedra from Sitka to San Francisco in 1872, unnofficial)
  • Bp. Nestor (Zakkis) 1879 - 1882 (In his time the Holy Synod in St. Petersburg officially recognizes the move to San Francisco, thus, Bp. Nestor was the first "Bishop of San Francisco" He died at sea whilst sailing to Alaska from San Francisco. His body was found at the mouth of the Yukon river and was buried at Unalaska.)

The ROCOR Bishop of San Francisco

The OCA Bishop of San Francisco

In 1922, a Sobor was held that ultimately decided on autonomy for the American Archdiocese. In 1927, due to large protests for and against the Metropolia's decision, the diocese (and the Russian church in America) was divided in two, along those loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and those loyal to what would later become the OCA.

  • Metr. Theophilus (Pashkovsky) (1931 - 1950) (He was made Archbishop of San Francisco from 1931 until his repose in 1950 in SF.

Ecumenical Patriarchate - Metropolis of San Francisco

The initial Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America provided for Greek diocesan sees in New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. A new charter issued in 1930 abolished these dioceses; however, an auxiliary bishop continued to reside in San Francisco and oversaw the western parishes of the Greek Archdiocese until the reestablishment of the Greek Diocese of San Francisco in 1979. In 2002, the Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco was elevated to the rank of Metropolis.

External Links


  • "A Brief History of Holy Trinity Cathedral" - Archpriest V. Sokolov Link
  • "Bishops of San Francisco" - by N. Yangson
  • "About the Metropolis of San Francisco" - Official website of the Metropolis of San Francisco Link
  • "Former Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America" - Orthodox Research Institute Link
  • "A History of the Russian Church Abroad and the events leading to the American Metropolia's Autocephaly, 1917-1971" - N.S. Palassis, Saint Nectarios Press, 1972. ISBN:0913026042