Subintroductae (συνείσακτοι) was a term applied to females kept by persons of clerical rank. Celibacy and chastity were regarded as identical from an early period in the Church, and in consequence ascetics invented the plan of remaining unmarried and taking into spiritual union with themselves young virgins (ἀδελφαί, so-ores, sisters). The relation is already hinted at in Hermas, but becomes more frequent in the 3rd century, when Cyprian condemns it. Its spiritual character was speedily lost, and it soon became necessary to legislate against the abuses to which it gave rise. The question was discussed at the trial of Paul of Samosata, at Antioch, in 269 (see Eusebius). In 305 the Council of Eleberis forbade the clergy to have "sisters" living with them; and that of Ancyra in 314, and of Nice in 325, prohibited association with all females whose relation to the clergyman did not obviate all suspicion (mother, sister, etc.). Subsequent legislation on the parts of both Church and State was in the same direction; e.g. of the third Council of Carthage in 397 (Can. 17, 27) and Cod. de Episc. et Clericis 1, 3,19 of Honoris and Theodosius, 420; Novella 123, 29; 137, 1, in fine, of Justinian.
The practice of keeping subintroductae or extreaese, developed into complete concubinage, and became so general that constantly repeated prohibitions became neces-sary, under penalty of degradation. Upon the whole subject, see Bruns, Canones Apostol., etc. In the 11th century the term focarice began to be applied to this disreputable class ("meretrices foco assidentes"), and the priests were termed focaristae, i.e. conicubinarii, fornicatores. See Du Fresne, Glossar 5; Gieseler, Kirchengesch. 4th ed. vol. 1-3, passim; Gerh. Maui (d.1384) Sermo de Focaristis et Notoriis Fornicaf. (Dresd. 1859); Trident. Cone. Sess. 25, 14, De Reformé. —Herzog, Real Encyklop. s.v. SEE AGAPETAE.