Among Christian women of the third and fourth centuries, widows and virgins . formed separate bodies, subject to different laws. These appellations, however, were strictly applied only to persons who had voluntarily fixed upon -celibacy or widowhood; and not to such as left themselves at liberty to change their condition. A few of their epitaphs remain:
Furia Elpis, a consecrated virgin.‘
AESTONIA VIRGO PEREGRI
NA QVE VIXIT ANIS XL-I ‘ET-DS '
VIII - IIII ' KAL ' MAR - DECESSIT
In Christ. Aestonia, a travelling virgin, who lived forty-one years and eight days. She departed from the body on the 4th before the Kalends of March. (Lap. Gall.)
The term peregrinus was applied to such persons as were received by distant Churches while journeying. This mode of admitting them to communion did not amount to an absolute recognition of their orthodoxy, and consequently could not be abused by heretics.
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