A distinction was made in the community between the electi (perfecti), the perfect Manichaeans, and the catechumeni (auditores), the secular Manichaeans.
Hence it was the duty of the auditores to pay the greatest respect and most assiduous attention to the electi.
They prayed for the auditores, they blessed them and interceded for them, thereby shortening the process of purification the latter had to pass through after death.
The distinction between electi and auditores, however, does not exhaust the conception of the Manichaean Church; on the contrary, the latter possessed a hierarchy of three ranks, so that there were altogether five gradations in the community.
At the head stood the teachers (" the sons of meekness," Mani himself and his successors); then follow the administrators (" the sons of knowledge," the bishops); then the elders (" the sons of understanding," the presbyters); the electi (" the sons of mystery"); and finally the auditores (" the sons of insight").
More than once, however, Manichaeism experienced attempts at reformation; for of course the auditores very easily became worldly in character, and movements of reformation led temporarily to divisions and the formation of sects.
The auditores were difficult to trace out, and besides they really gave little occasion for persecution.