from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In the penitential system of the early church, especially in the Eastern church during the second hart of the third and the whole of the fourth century, penitents occupying the fourth or highest penitential station.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Thus some of the grades of the laity in the Church were the expiatores and pænitentes, again subdivided into consistentes, substrati, audientes, and flentes or lugentes.
Finally, the consistentes were so called because they were allowed to hear the whole Mass without communicating, or because they remained at their place while the faithful approached the Holy Table.
In the fourth degree they were allowed to approach the altar and were called _consistentes_.
"prostrated" (hypopiptontes, prostrati), because the bishop before excluding them, prayed over them while imposing his hands on them as they lay prostrate; finally the systantes, consistentes, who assisted at the whole service, but did not receive communion.