PROTOPRESBYTER, ARCHPRESBYTER: Titles used in the early Church to designate the head of the college of presbyters who represented the bishop in case of absence or vacancy of the see (Bingham, Origines, II., xix. 18). According to the Justinian Code (I., iii. 42, § 10), there were sometimes several protopresbyters at one and the same church, who seem to have exercised a general supervision over worship. In the East, at the end of the twelfth century and later, the name prōtopapas ("protopope") occurs with similar meaning, and as approximating the functions of the Chorepiscopus (q.v.), although in at least one instance a prōtopapas (of Corfu, 1367) had an almost episcopal position with nine archpresbyters under him (Nicholas Bulgaris, Katēchēsis hiera, Venice, 1681, preface). At present "protopresbyter" or "protopope" is an honorary title in the Greek Church. In the Russian Church it designates a minor supervisory office (cf. ARCHDEACON and ARCHPRIEST).