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presbytery (prĕzˈbĭtĕrˌē, prĕsˈ–) [key], in architecture, the space in the eastern end of a church reserved for the higher clergy. It was also known in the early Christian Church as the apse, tribune, or exedra. In the English medieval cathedrals the presbytery usually occupies a large space between the high altar and the choir stalls. The term is used in Presbyterian churches for the court composed of the ministers and representative elders (one from each congregation) of a district.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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