Griswold was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He was educated at St Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English literature from Harvard College (1959). He attended the General Theological Seminary and also earned another Bachelor of Arts degree in theology (later converted to a Master of Arts (Oxbridge)) at Oriel College, Oxford University (1962, 1966).
Griswold was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1963 and then served at three parishes in Pennsylvania, including St Andrew's Church in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and St Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1976 until his nomination as Bishop of Chicago, a position he held from 1987 until he became the presiding bishop in 1997. He has received honorary degrees from the General Theological Seminary, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Nashotah House, Sewanee, Rikkyo University and Berkeley Divinity School, the Virginia Theological Seminary, and Episcopal Divinity School.
Griswold was co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission from 1998 to 2003. He was a member of the standing committee for the 1998 Lambeth Conference. He has also served on diocesan, national and international committees for liturgy, worship and ecumenism. He is interested in interfaith dialogue and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. 
Griswold's term as presiding bishop ended on November 1, 2006. He was succeeded by the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion. He continues a ministry of teaching, preaching, writing, lecturing and leading retreats, nationally and internationally. Since he completed his term as presiding bishop he has served as a visiting professor at seminaries and universities in South Korea, Cuba and Japan, as well as at the Episcopal Divinity School and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Virginia Theological Seminary and Seabury-Western. He also serves as episcopal visitor to the Society of St. John the Evangelist. His books include Going Home (Cowley Publications Cloister Book) and Praying our Days: A guide and companion (Church Publishing Group).
- The Most Revd John M. Allin, 23rd Presiding Bishop
- The Rt Revd Francis G. Burrill, 8th Bishop of Chicago
- The Rt Revd James W. Montgomery, 9th Bishop of Chicago
- Prichard, Robert W.; Pub Co, Morehouse (1999). A history of the Episcopal Church. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub. p. 343. ISBN 0-8192-1828-6.
- Webber, Christopher (2004). Give us grace: an anthology of Anglican prayers. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub. p. 445. ISBN 0-8192-1962-2.
- The Elijah Interfaith Institute - Christian Members of the Board of World Religious Leaders
- "The Sunday Forum: Critical Issues in the Light of Faith". Washington National Cathedral. 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
- Michael Toy (September 29, 2014). "Eliza Griswold – The Tenth Parallel". Trinity Church Website. Trinity Church, Princeton, NJ. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
- "WEDDINGS;Eliza Griswold, Christopher Allen". The New York Times. 1996-06-09.
- episcopalchurch.org List of Presiding Bishops
|Episcopal Church (USA) titles|
James W. Montgomery
|10th Bishop of Chicago
William D. Persell
Edmond Lee Browning
|25th Presiding Bishop
January 1, 1998 – November 1, 2006
Katharine Jefferts Schori