'''''Presbyter''''' is, in the [[Bible]], a synonym for ''[[bishop]]'' (''episkopos''), referring to a leader in local Church congregations.
In modern usage, it is distinct from ''bishop'' and synonymous with '''''priest'''''. Its literal meaning in Greek (''presbyteros'') is "elder."
== History ==
Initially, each local congregation in the Church had its own bishop. Eventually, as the Church grew, individual congregations no longer were served directly by a bishop. The bishop in a large city would appoint a presbyter to pastor the flock in each congregation, acting as his delegate.
Modern usage ==
The [[Orthodox Church]] often refers to presbyters in English as ''priests'' (''priest'' is etymologically derived from the Greek ''presbyteros'' via the Latin ''presbyter''). This usage is seen by some Protestant Christians as stripping the [[laity]] of its rightful priestly status, while those who use the term defend its usage by saying that, while they do believe in the ''priesthood'' of all believers, they do not believe in the ''eldership'' of all believers.
Priests are often styled as ''the Reverend'' (Rev.) and therefore referred to as ''the Reverend Father'' (Rev. Fr.). Higher in bestowed honor and responsibility, [[Archpriest]]s and [[Protopresbyter]]s are styled as ''the Very Reverend'' (V. Rev.), while [[Archimandrite]]s can be styled as ''the Very Reverend'' (V. Rev.) or as ''the Right Reverend'' (Rt. Rev.). It is also appropriate and traditional to refer to a clergyman as "the Priest ''Name''" or "Archpriest ''Name''". This latter practice is especially prominent in Churches with Slavic roots, such as the [[Church of Russia]] or the [[Orthodox Church in America]].
Monastic]] s who are ordained to the priesthood are known as ''priest-monks'' or ''hieromonks''.
== Sources ==
*[[w:Priest|Priest]] on Wikipedia