Definition of presbytery in English:



  • 1[treated as singular or plural] A body of church elders and ministers, especially (in Presbyterian churches) an administrative body (court) representing all the local congregations of a district.

    • ‘A January 20 meeting will bring presbytery and Hunger Program personnel together to discuss the issue.’
    • ‘‘This action does not require any presbytery to do anything it does not want to,’ Buchanan said.’
    • ‘He supported the elders in their stance and together they established the first presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church.’
    • ‘The court held that the presbytery was not doing enough to enforce church law.’
    • ‘To be added to the church's constitution, the ban must be ratified by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries before the denomination meets in June.’
    • ‘In recent years moderators have spent the rest of their year in office visiting missionaries and liaising with presbyteries.’
    • ‘One of the systemic realities of our Presbyterian polity is that we have moved issues from the local presbytery (diocese, association) to the national body, the General Assembly.’
    • ‘The country's first presbytery would be organized in Philadelphia and a later influx of Scotch-Irish would keep the state a Presbyterian stronghold.’
    • ‘At this time, he also left his presbytery, where disciplinary charges had been filed against him, and joined the Christian Reformed Church.’
    • ‘The proposed amendment was approved by a narrow margin at the denomination's General Assembly last June but needed to be ratified by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries to become church law.’
    • ‘Church leaders wanted to cut the number of presbyteries - the ‘local government’ of the Kirk - from 49 to as few as four.’
    • ‘He thus backed a local presbytery's proposal for a commission submitted to the June 9-16 General Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky.’
    • ‘But some conservatives fear a falling away of members, even if the majority of presbyteries eventually reject and thereby nullify the General Assembly action.’
    • ‘On the issue of gay blessings they will call for the decision to be referred to the Church's 47 presbyteries across Scotland and overseas, where they are likely to be defeated.’
    • ‘By the 1590s the old church was withering away as former office-holders died, while the presbyteries were taking a more consistent place in church administration.’
    • ‘The local presbyteries are voting this winter and spring on whether to open the door to ordination of gay ministers, elders and deacons.’
    • ‘According to the presbytery, the charges all involved adult women.’
    1. 1.1A district represented by a presbytery.
      • ‘There are 54 members on this committee, drawn from presbyteries across the country and including a number of past Moderators.’
      • ‘There are 312,000 Presbyterians on the island (95 percent of whom are in Northern Ireland), grouped into 562 congregations and twenty-one presbyteries.’
      • ‘The Irish Presbyterian Church, which is a founding member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, has over 560 congregations in 21 presbyteries throughout Ireland, with over 300,000 members.’
      • ‘The calendar presented below is a listing of "official" events within the Presbytery of Hamilton.’
      • ‘The mission of the Presbyterian Homes in the Presbytery of Lake Erie is to provide the best care for seniors and older adults in a nurturing, secure, home-like community.’
      • ‘The mission of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta is to witness to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to connect and empower congregations in their local and global ministries.’
  • 2The house of a Roman Catholic parish priest.

    • ‘The church and the nearby presbytery were a refuge - and sometimes a home - for anyone with nowhere else to stay, and it didn't matter whether they were black or white, Catholic or otherwise.’
    • ‘The invention of the mobile phone has freed priests from their presbyteries.’
    • ‘The woman in the case, now living in Britain, alleged the abuse against her by the priest took place at his presbytery.’
    • ‘The parish is, in effect, being run from the presbytery but the only priest the people see is at Mass on a Sunday.’
    • ‘The site is in a historic precinct which formerly housed the St Vincent's Roman Catholic Group including a church, presbytery, convent and school circa 1887.’
    • ‘Dr. William Lee has encouraged Catholics to read the report, which is available at churches and presbyteries around the county.’
    • ‘It is in Ravenna that the earliest mosaics are preserved, in temple after temple, in museums, presbyteries, baptistries and churches.’
    • ‘A City priest vowed yesterday that he is no longer willing to turn the other cheek and tolerate the repeated acts of wanton vandalism to the windows of the presbytery which is also his home.’
    • ‘‘Please do not support any collection whatsoever in relation to Cathedral repairs due to our recent fire,’ said a spokesperson for the Cathedral presbytery.’
    • ‘Abandoned blackhouses are perched on the edge of the east coast surrounded by peat bogs, and the walls of his chemical factory now form the garden wall of the Catholic presbytery.’
  • 3Architecture
    The eastern part of a church chancel beyond the choir; the sanctuary.

    • ‘The climbers are working on top of the three-tiered presbytery and transept, which were built in the 13th century.’
    • ‘In the 1340s the church's presbytery, off which radiate six chapels, was rebuilt by the widow of Hugh le Despenser the Younger, who was executed for treason in 1326.’
    • ‘This part of the church is ruinous, but standing to full height are the central transepts, the third storey of which was added about 1225, and the choir and presbytery range east of that.’
    holy place, temple, shrine, tabernacle, altar, sanctum, inner sanctum, holy of holies, sacrarium, bema, naos, adytum
    View synonyms


Late Middle English ( presbytery): from Old French presbiterie, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek presbuterion, from presbuteros (see presbyter).