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Presbytides appear as the subject of Canon XI issued by the [[Synod]] of Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana of c. 365 that reads, ''Presbytides, as they are called, or female presidents, are not to be appointed in the Church''. As a description for the functions of Presbytides has not survived the era of the synod, the meaning and intent of the canon have been the subject of many interpretations and controversy ever since. Such [[theologian]]s as Theodore Balsamon and John Zonaras (twelfth century) and Karl Josef von Hefele and Johann August Wilhelm Neander (eighteenth century) have explored the issue without reaching definitives answers including any relationship of the function to a [[clergy]] position.
While some have read the canon to refer to deaconesses, others have interpreted it to refer to aged women, female presidents (Greek: προκαθήμεναι, ) who had been given the task of supervision of women in the ancient church but had misused their office, leading to its suppression.

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