English edit

Etymology edit

From Medieval Latin presbyterissa. By surface analysis, presbyter +‎ -ess.

Noun edit

presbyteress (plural presbyteresses)

  1. (historical) A presbyter or priest's wife.
    • 1972, Charles A. Frazee, “The Origins of Clerical Celibacy in the Western Church”, in Church History, volume 41, number 2, →DOI, →ISSN, →JSTOR, page 157:
      Even a special blessing was included within the liturgy for the wives of married men on the day of their husband's ordination in the sixth century. These women were called presbyteresses (presbyterissae) and were entitled to wear special dress.
  2. (obsolete) A female presbyter (elder of the congregation in early Christianity).
    • 1863, Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments:
      Age was doubtless a requisite in presbyters, as it is here stated to have been in presbyteresses, with a view to their influence on the younger persons of their sex. They were supported by the Church, but not the only widows so supported.

Synonyms edit

References edit