'''''Presbyter'''' ' is, in the [[Bible]], a synonym for ''[[bishop]]'' (Gr: επίσκοπος - ''episkopos''), referring to a leader in local Church congregations. However, since at least the second century, it has been understood as distinct from ''bishop'' and synonymous with '''''priest'''''. Its literal meaning in Greek (Gr: πρεσβύτερος - ''presbyteros'') is "elder."
Through the sacrament of [[ordination|holy orders]], an ordination of a deacon to the priesthood is performed by the bishop.
But this requires the consent of the whole people of God, so at a point in the service, the [[congregation ]] acclaim the ordination by shouting [[Axios ]]! ( ''He is worthy ! '')
A priest ministers to the people of God in the stead of the bishop. This includes:
*Celebrating the Divine Liturgy;
*Celebrating baptisms, marriages, funerals and any sacraments of the Church.
Usually, a priest will
*Be assigned as [[proistamenos|rector of a parish]], a position that will include pastoral ministry, preaching and administration;
*Hear confessions. In some jurisdictions, this is allowable immediately; in others, being a confessor is something a bishop invites a priest to undertake.
It should be noted that a priest's conduct does not inhibit the grace of God acting through them. Christ is the one who gives grace, merely using his ministers as 'conduits' to the people.
==Married and Monastic priests==
Orthodox priests are divided into two distinct groups, [[Marriage|married]] [[clergy]], and [[monastic]] clergy. In the Orthodox Church a married man may be ordained to the priesthood. His marriage, however, must be the first for both him and his wife. He may not remarry and continue in his ministry even if his wife should die.
If a single man is ordained, he must remain celibate to retain his service. This is often done alongside the candidate taking monastic vows, becoming a [[hieromonk]] or priest-monk.
The [[Orthodox Church]] often refers to presbyters in English as ''priests'' (''priest'' is etymologically derived from the Greek ''presbyteros'' via the Latin ''presbyter''). This usage is seen by some Protestant Christians as stripping the [[laity]] of its rightful priestly status, while those who use the term defend its usage by saying that, while they do believe in the ''priesthood'' of all believers, they do not believe in the ''eldership'' of all believers.
The [[presbytera|wife of a priest]] will also have a special title, usually in the language of the jurisdiction of her husband.
== Sources ==