Reference: Simon Magus
Mentioned in Ac 8:9-24, and described as using sorcery in Samaria and thereby amazing the people. He claimed to be 'some great one,' and was regarded by all as 'that power of God which is called Great.' When Philip reached Samaria, and, preaching the gospel, gathered many into the Church, Simon also fell under the influence of his message. We are told that he 'believed,' which cannot mean less than that he recognized that the Evangelist exerted, in the name of Jesus Christ, powers the reality of which he could not deny, and the efficacy of which 'amazed' him. He therefore sought baptism, and, being baptized, continued with Philip. The Apostles Peter and John came down to Samaria to establish the work begun by Philip, and by the laying on of their hands gave the Holy Ghost to the converts. This was no doubt evidenced by the miraculous gifts which were vouchsafed by God to His Church during its early years. The shallowness of Simon's belief was now shown, for he offered to buy from the Apostles the power of conferring the Holy Ghost. Peter rebuked him in language of such sternness as to lead him to beg of the Apostle to pray that the judgment of God might not fall upon him for his sin.
Simon holds the unenviable position of being the one outstanding heretic in the NT: and from then until now his character has been held in particular odium. Ignatius, the earliest of the Fathers, calls him 'the firstborn of Satan': Iren