Simon Magus

Since his mind was deranged and deluded by the devilish deceit in magic, and he was always ready to display the barbarous deeds of his own wickedness and demon’s wickedness through his magic arts, he came out in the open and, under the appearance of Christ’s name, induced death in his converts by slipping a poison into the dignity of Christ’s name—as though he were mixing hellebore with honey—for those whom he had trapped in his baneful error.

Since the tramp was naturally lecherous, and was encouraged by the respect that had been shown to his professions, he trumped up a phony allegory for his dupes. He had gotten hold of a female vagabond from Tyre named Helen, and he took her without letting his relationship with her be known. And while privately having an unnatural relationship with his paramour, the charlatan was teaching his disciples stories for their amusement and calling himself the supreme power of God, if you please! And he had the nerve to call the whore who was his partner the Holy Spirit, and said that he had come down on her account. He said, “I was transformed in each heaven in accordance with the appearance of the inhabitants of each, so as to pass my angelic powers by unnoticed and descend to Ennoia—to this woman, likewise called Prunicus and Holy Spirit, through whom I created the angels. But the angels created the world and men. But this woman is the ancient Helen on whose account the Trojans and Greeks went to war.”

St Epiphanius, Panarion, 2.2,2-4. Charles Williams’ translation.

One wonders what truth lay behind this depiction of Simon and his associate. The description of passing through the heavens and the name Ennoia show a relation to other Gnostic trends. Interesting, but garbled.


  1. Simon Magus was one of the earliest of the “gnostic” pseudo-Christian heresiarchs, of course. I suppose his strange ideas are no more peculiar than most of that lot, but then it’s a very strange lot!

    I didn’t know (or had at the very least forgotten) that Simon claimed that his Helen was the Helen. Dubious indeed! One wonders how successful he was in collecting adherents, or rather, as St Epiphanius and all the Saints would term it, how many souls he manageed to destroy.

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