Corroboration from
Pagan Sources
They also declared that the sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this:  they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honor of Christ as if to a godÉ  This made me decide it was all the more necessary to extract the truth by torture from two slave-women, whom they call deaconesses.  I found nothing but a degenerate sort of cult carried to extravagant lengths.  I have therefore postponed any further examination and hastened to consult you.
Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96