Presbytera (Greek: πρεσβυτέρα, pronounced presvytéra) 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"). Although 'Presbyteress' or 'eldress' has an equivalent meaning, it has a very small usage: 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 languagesEdit

Presbytera corresponds to the following equivalent titles:

  • Albanian: Prifteresha
  • Armenian: Yeretzgin
  • Arabic: خورية (khūrīah, from the word خوري khūrī , a title of Greek origin meaning "priest") or قسيسة (qasīsa, from the word قسيس qasīs , a title of Syriac origin meaning "priest")
  • Bulgarian: Popadija (from the word pop, meaning married priest)
  • Carpatho-Russian: Pani (literally "lady," comparable to Pan for priests, meaning "lord")
  • Coptic: Tasoni (pronounced TAH-son-ee, Coptic word for "Sister" but also used to address the wife of a priest)
  • Estonian: Presvitera
  • Finnish: Ruustinna (from the word rovasti (protoiereos), in Karelia: Maatuska)
  • Malayalam (Kerala, India): Kochamma literal meaning is little or young mother. In Syrian Christian churches, they are formally called "baskiamo" (from Syriac Bath Qyomo).
  • Macedonian: Popadija (from the word pop, meaning married priest)
  • Romanian: Preoteasă
  • Russian: Matushka (pronounced MAH'-too-shkah, literally means "mama," i.e., the intimate form of "mother"); (antiquated) Popadya ("priest's wife")
  • Serbian: Popadija (from the word pop, meaning married priest); Protinica (pronounced proh-tee-NEE'-tsah) for a protopresbyter's wife
  • Syriac: Bath Qyomo (meaning a daughter of the covenant)
  • Ukrainian: Panimatka or Panimatushka (pani, "lady" + matushka, loving, deminutivum form of "mama"); Dobrodijka (pronounced doh-BROH-deey-kah, literally means "a woman who does good"); Popadya ("priest's wife")

See alsoEdit


This article incorporates text from Presbytera at OrthodoxWiki which is licensed under the CC-BY-SA and GFDL.

Further readingEdit

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

External linksEdit