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Presbytera (also spelled as presvytera) is a Greek title of honor that is used to refer to a priest's wife. It is derived from presbyteros—the Greek word for priest (literally, "elder"). There does not currently seem to be any standard English equivalent, so most English-speaking Orthodox Christians will use the title most common in the old country churches from which their local family or parish finds its origin.

Other languages

Presbytera corresponds to the following equivalent titles:

  • Albanian: Prifteresha
  • Arabic: Khouria (from the word khoury, meaning "priest")
  • Carpatho-Russian: Pani (a shortened form of Panimatka)
  • Finnish: Ruustinna (from the word rovasti (protoiereos), in Karelia: Maatuska)
  • Old Icelandic: Prestkona ("priest's woman")
  • Romanian: Preoteasa
  • Russian: Matushka (pronounced MAH'-too-shkah, literally means "mama," i.e., the intimate form of "mother"; more common in "diaspora" Russian traditions than within Russia itself)
  • Serbian: Popadija; Protinica (pronounced proh-tee-NEE'-tsah) for a protopresbyter's wife
  • Ukrainian: Panimatka or Panimatushka ("little mama")

See also


  • Presbytera: The Life, Mission, and Service of the Priest's Wife, by Athanasia Papademetriou (ISBN 0972466142)

External links