Agapetae (ἀγαπηταί, beloved, used in the primitive Church as a title of saints). In the early ages of the Church this title was given to virgins who dwelt with monks and others professing celibacy, in a state of so-called spiritual love. This intercourse, however pure and holy it may have been at first, soon occasioned great scandal in the Church, and at length became the cause of such evils that it was synodically condemned (Lateran Council, 1139). It seems that the name Agapeti (ἀγαπητοί) was given to men who passed the same kind of life with deaconesses and other women. The 6th Novell (cap. 6) forbids deaconesses to have with them such men, with whom they dwelt as with their brothers or relations. — Epiphanius, Hoer. 43; Mosheim, Comm. 2:138. SEE SUBINTRODUCTAE.

For special treatises on this class of persons see Gunther, Historia ἀγαπητῶν [συνεισακτῶν] (Regiom. 1722); Muratori, De Synisactis et Agapetis, in his Anecd. Gr. p. 218-230; an anonymous treatise, De commercio cum Mulieribus subintroductis (Dresd. 1743); Quistorp, Α᾿γαπηταί et Συνεισακτοί (Viteb. 1708); Larroquanus, De Mulieribus Clericorum συνεισακταῖς (Viteb. 1708).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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