Mr. Michael Pappas, 2008

Michael G. Pappas was the 23rd presiding priest to serve at Holy Trinity - San Francisco. He is no longer a Greek Orthodox priest and is now the Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

Michael G. Pappas was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He graduated from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) in 1983, after which he successively worked as a lobbyist for CN Communications, Inc., the New Jersey regional field director for the 1984 Regan - Bush presidential campaign and investment banker for J.B. Hanauer & Co., the oldest municipal bond firm in New Jersey.

In 1987, he left the world of politics & finance and enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, MA) attaining an M.Div., with honors, in the class of 1992. An ordained priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, Michael served at Sts. Constantine and Helen, Palos Hills, Ill. (1991-1994), and St. Basil, Stockton: 1994-2004, and Holy Trinity - San Francisco: 2004-2007.

Mr. Pappas came to Holy Trinity in August 2004, after the passing of Fr. Anthony Kosturos. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, he served as the Principal of the Holy Trinity Orthodox School, Northern California Ecumenical Officer for the SF Metropolis, and as a columnist for the Hellenic Journal. He also served on the San Francisco Interfaith Council and frequently volunteered for SF Project Homeless Connect.

Mr. Pappas initiated many programs at Holy Trinity. He revitalized church organizations which had become inactive and worked with our youth. He worked with Bay Area religious communities and in three short years dramatically increased attendance and brought Holy Trinity into the public eye and into a position of prominence.

He started a parish website,, and began to utilize email to communicate with the parish and the greater bay area Orthodox community. He became a prolific writer, contributing articles to numerous religious and secular periodicals.  As well, he devoted energy to work with the homeless and further ecumenical / interfaith relationships.

Mr. Pappas initiated a project to install a Pantocrator at Holy Trinity. He raised $1 million.  The Pantocrator at Holy Trinity features the largest mosaic face of Christ in the western hemisphere. The face of Christ measures 23 feet from forehead to chin. 

Mr. Pappas' career as a Greek Orthodox priest came to an end on August 21, 2007 when he came out as a gay man and wrote a letter to the Holy Trinity community stating that he had been unfaithful to his wife. He asked His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos to release him from the priesthood.  He was suspended from active ministry and Fr. James Adams was appointed to serve as interim priest until the arrival of Fr. Aris Metrakos. The Greek Orthodox Church formally laicized Mr. Pappas in 2008.

When his ministry at Holy Trinity ended, he accepted a leadership role within the San Francisco Interfaith Community. In 2007, Mr. Pappas was selected by the San Francisco Interfaith Council to the newly created administrative post of Executive Director. In his tenure as Executive Director Mr. Pappas has helped increase the Council's budget and programs substantially; strengthened existing and cultivated new relationships with civic leaders, NGO's judicatories and congregations; and significantly projected the SFIC through expanded use of technology.

His previous / current board memberships include : Mayoral appointment to the San Francisco Disaster Council, San Francsico Office of Civic Engagement's 2010 Census Complete Count Committee; San Francisco Assisi Sister City Committee, and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

He has also served as a board member of the National Shrine of Saint Francis; Board of Directors & Program Committee Chair of the Interfaith Center of the Presidio; The San Francisco Foundation FAITHS Advisory Board; Episopal Charities Board of Trusteesl Night Ministry Advisory Board Member. Michael serves on the United Religions Initiative (URI) North America Leadership Council and was most recently elected by that region to served as a trustee on the URI's Global Council. On March 20, 2013, he was elected as a member of the board of directors of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter.

He traveled to Turkey as a participant in the Pacifica Institute Cultural Exchange, attended the United Religions Initiative Global Assembly in Mayapur, India; the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia; spent a week in New Orleans doing disaster relief; and most recently was the guest of the Jewish Community Relations Council in their Community Leaders sojourn to Israel.

Mr. Pappas is the father of two sons, George and Paul, and one daughter, Julia.

Articles & Speeches - Holy Trinity

12/30/2004 - 100 Year Anniversary Keynote Address

11/13/2005 - New Century Ball Remarks

11/13/2005 - New Century Ball Remarks - Greek

Mar 2006 Clergy Corner

Apr 2006 Clergy Corner

July 2006 Clergy Corner

11/05/2006 - Making History Ball Remarks

Dec 2006 Clergy Corner

Jan 2007 Clergy Corner

Feb 2007 Clergy Corner

Mar 2007 Clergy Corner

Apr 2007 Clergy Corner

May 2007 Clergy Corner

Jun 2007 Clergy Corner

July 2007 Clergy Corner

Aug 2007 Clergy Corner

Sep 2007 Clergy Corner

Articles & Speeches - San Francisco Interfaith Council

11/20/2007 - Prayer Breakfast Remarks

11/25/2008 - Prayer Breakfast Remarks

05/30/2010 - New Orleans Relief Effort - How a College Educated an Alumnus


2006 - Greek Orthodox Easter at Holy Trinity

05/04/2009 - United Religions Initiative India

05/21/2011 - Invocation at SFSU Graduation

06/10/2011 - Funeral Mass for Fallen Firefighters

08/12/2011 - Commonwealth Club Meeting - Salma Arastu

09/22/2011 - Michael Pappas Sworn in as Human Rights Commissioner

10/20/2011 - David Perry Interviews Human Rights Commissioner Michael Pappas

11/22/2011 - SFIC Thanksgiving Breakfast Honoring Rita Semel

01/16/2012 - Martin Luther King Event

03/30/2012 - Sunday Morning Parking Meter Proposal

05/01/2012 - URI NA Trustee Candidate Michael Pappas

08/12/2012 - Circling the Wagons Conference


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Contents copyright : Jim Lucas & Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area