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'''''Presbyter''''' is, in the [[Bible]], a synonym for ''[[bishop]]'' (Gr: επίσκοπος - ''episkopos''), referring to a leader in local Church congregations. In modern usageHowever, since at least the second century, it is has been understood as distinct from ''bishop'' and synonymous with '''''priest'''''. Its literal meaning in Greek (Gr: πρεσβύτερος - ''presbyteros'') is "elder." ==Ordination==Through the sacrament of [[ordination|holy orders]], an ordination of a deacon to the priesthood is performed by the bishop. But this requires the consent of the whole people of God, so at a point in the service, the [[congregation]] acclaim the ordination by shouting [[Axios]]! (''He is worthy!'') ==Duties==A priest ministers to the people of God in the stead of the bishop. This includes:*Celebrating the Divine Liturgy;*Celebrating baptisms, marriages, funerals and any sacraments of the Church. Usually, a priest will*Be assigned as [[proistamenos|rector of a parish]], a position that will include pastoral ministry, preaching and administration;*Hear confessions. In some jurisdictions, this is allowable immediately; in others, being a confessor is something a bishop invites a priest to undertake. It should be noted that a priest's conduct does not inhibit the grace of God acting through them. Christ is the one who gives grace, merely using his ministers as 'conduits' to the people. ===Restrictions===Since the presbyters are assigned by the bishop and belong to the specific congregations they have no authority or services to perform apart from their bishop and their own particular parish community. On the [[altar table]] of each parish, there is the cloth called the [[antimension]] signed by the bishop, which is the permission to the community to gather and to act as the Church. Without the antimension, the priest and his people cannot function legitimately.
== 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 Married and Monastic priests==Orthodox priests are divided into two distinct groups, [[Marriage|married]] [[clergy]], and [[monastic]] clergy. In the Orthodox Church a married man may be ordained to the priesthood. His marriage, however, must be the first for both him and his wife. He may not remarry and continue in his ministry even if his wife should die.  If a single man is ordained, he must remain celibate to retain his service. This is often done alongside the candidate taking monastic vows, becoming a [[hieromonk]] or priest-monk. == Contemporary 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]].
The [[Monasticpresbytera|wife of a priest]]s who are ordained to will also have a special title, usually in the priesthood are known as ''priest-monks'' or ''hieromonks''language of the jurisdiction of her husband.
== Sources ==
*[[w:Priest|Priest]] on Wikipedia
==Further reading==
* Christos S. Voulgaris (Prof. of New Testament Studies, Dean of the School of Theology of the Univ. of Athens). ''[ The Sacrament of Priesthood in the Holy Scriptures].''

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