Funk, Patres Apostolici, vol.
The plebs did not gather round the patres, neither were they conquered by the patres; the patres were developed by natural selection out of the plebs, or, more strictly, out of the ancient populus.
Apart from the definite evidence, the theory of a racial distinction gains probability from the fact that it explains the survival of the distinction between the patricii, men with a family and genealogy, and the rest of the citizens, for some time after the latter had acquired the legal status of patres and were organized in gentes of their own; for on this theory privilege would belong not to all who could trace free descent but only to those who could trace descent to an ancestor of the conquering race.
The right to nominate to the order was shared with the pope as grand master by the guardian of the Patres Minores in Jerusalem, later by the Franciscans, and then by the Latin patriarch in Jerusalem.
Among the chief editions are those of Zahn, Der Hirt des Hermas (1868); Gebhardt and Harnack, Patres Apostolici (1877, with full bibliographical material); Funk, Patres Apost.