SIMONIANS: Followers of Simon Magus, a magician of Apostolic times who
claimed to be a sort of emanation of the Eternal. Since he was the first to oppose the
teachings of the Apostles he is sometimes called "The Father of Heretics". According to St.
Justin, Simon came from Gitta in the country of the Samaritans. He was baptized a Christian,
but his conversion was evidently not sincere as he attempted to purchase from the Apostles
what he regarded as their magical power. Hence the word "simony" signifying traffic in
sacred things. According to St. Ambrose, St. Augustin and others, Simon died in Rome as the
result of an attempted ascent to heaven.
The Simonians denied free-will; taught that the world was created by angels; believed in the transmigration (reincarnation) of souls, and denied the humanity of Jesus Christ.
CERINTHIANS: Disciples of Cerinthus, a contemporary of St. John against
whose errors on the divinity of Christ the Apostle is said by some to have written the Fourth
Gospel. According to Theodoret, Cerinthus was an Egyptian. In Asia he founded a school and
gathered about him a number of disciples. Of these we know almost nothing except that they
flourished in Asia and Galatia.
The Cerinthians denied that God was the creator of the world; asserted that the Law of Moses was necessary for salvation; held that after the Resurrection Jesus Christ would establish a terrestrial kingdom where the just would spend a thousand years in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure; and denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.
©1997-1998, Catholic Truth Publications
Last edited March 17, 1998