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 Ecumenical Patriarchate established a Diocese of San Francisco in the context of the 1922 charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. 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.
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.)
- Abp. Vladimir (Sokolovsky-Avtonomov) 1888-1891 (Received St. Alexis Toth into Orthodoxy, translated and served in English at the Cathdral in San Francisco)
- Bp. Nicholas (Ziorov) (1891- 1898)
- St. Tikhon (Belavin) of Moscow (1898- 1907) American Cathedra transferred from San Francisco to New York. American Archdiocese given to auxiliaries, Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) for Alaska and St. Raphael Hawaweeny for the Syrians.
- Archbishop Apollinary (Koshevoy) of San Francisco (1926-33) In 1927, the diocese (and the Russian Church in America) would split in two, he was at that time expelled from the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Green Street in San Francisco. He and half of the community of Holy Trinity started a seperate parish, which would later become Holy Virgin Cathdral (ROCOR) on Geary Blvd.
The ROCOR Bishop of San Francisco
- Abp. Apollinary (Koshevoy) of San Francisco (1926-33)
- Abp. Tikhon (Troitsky) of San Francisco (1934-1962)
- St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco (1962-1966)
- Bp. Nektary (Kontsevich) of Seattle Administrator of the diocese in San Francisco, 1966-1968
- Abp. Anthony (Medvedev) of San Francisco (1968-2000)
- Abp. Kyrill (Dmitrieff) of San Francisco (2000 - present)
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.
- Abp. Alexis (Panteleev) (1927-1931)
- Metr. Theophilus (Pashkovsky) (1931 - 1950) (He was made Archbishop of San Francisco from 1931 until his repose in 1950 in SF.
- Abp. John (Shahovskoy) (1950-1973, 1975-1979).
- Metr. Vladimir (Nagosky) of Tokyo and San Francisco Administrator of the diocese, 1974-1975
- Bp. Basil (Rodzianko) (1980-1984).
- Bp. Tikhon (Fitzgerald) (1987-2007)
- Bp. Benjamin (Peterson) (2007 - present).
Ecumenical Patriarchate - Metropolis of San Francisco
The initial Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America provided for 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 Archdiocese until the reestablishment of the Diocese of San Francisco in 1979. In 2002, the Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco was elevated to the rank of Metropolis.
- Bp. Kallistos (Papageorgapoulos) of San Francisco (1927-1940)
- Bp. Eirinaios (Tsourounakis) of San Francisco (1941-1944)
- Bp. Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Eleia (1950-1955)
- Bp. Demetrios (Makris) of Olympos (1955-1960)
- Bp. Meletios (Tripodakis) of Christianopoulis (1960-1978)
- Met. Anthony (Gergiannakis) of San Francisco (1978-2004)
- Met. Gerasimos (Michaleas) of San Francisco (2005-present)
- Diocese of San Francisco and Western America - Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad)
- Diocese of the West - Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco (Orthodox Church in America)
- Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco - Met. Gerasimos of San Francisco (Greek Archdiocese of North America)
- Diocese of Los Angeles and the West - Bishop Joseph of Los Angeles (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America)
- Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America - Bishop Maxim of Alhambra (Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada)
- Orthodox America 1794-1976 Development of the Orthodox Church in America, C. J. Tarasar, Gen. Ed. 1975, The Orthodox Church in America, Syosett, New York
- "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