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Syncelli, a name which in the early Church was given to those monks or clerics who lived in the same room with their bishops, and whose duty it was to be witnesses to the purity of their lives or to perform the daily spiritual exercises in common with them. In the Eastern Church they soon became the councillors and confessors of the patriarchs and bishops, and exerted a great influence over them. They held the first place after their masters and had a seat and vote in the councils of the Church. In the course of time the patriarchs took two or more syncelli, the most distinguished of whom was called protosyncellus ( protosygkellos ). Since the tenth century their influence began to decrease, but in the Greek Church they still exist. In the Latin Church they never became very influential, though popes and bishops had syncelli as witnesses of their mode of life ( Gregory the Great, "Epistolarum libri XIV", IV, ep. xliv). They gradually developed into the consiliarii papales et episcopales (spiritual councillors).
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