2A body of presbyters, elders, or priests; = "presbytery".
Usually with reference to the community of presbyters in the early Church.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in John Jewel (1522–1571), bishop of Salisbury. From post-classical Latin presbyterium body or council of elders, Jewish or Christian (Vetus Latina, Vulgate), office or dignity of elder (Vetus Latina), place assigned to elders in church, office of presbyter, priesthood, body of elders of an individual parish church from Hellenistic Greek πρεσβυτέριον (also πρεσβυτερεῖον) council of elders, Jewish or Christian (New Testament), place assigned to elders in church, in Byzantine Greek also office of presbyter, priesthood from πρεσβύτερος + -ιον, suffix forming nouns. Compare Spanish presbiterio, Italian presbiterio.