Simon was a very powerful magician, the first Gnostic teacher and the first heretic target for Christian Church. I came to the Simon Magus trying to explain to myself the Pompeo Batoni’ “The Fall of Simon Magus” painting. So I solved the mystery of Vatican’ rejection and I learned about Gnostic Gospels.
Simon Magus was born in Samaritan town of Gitta, he was later the founder of the Simonian sect of Gnostics, and was contemporary with the Apostles. His writings and almost all direct sources of information were destroyed by hostile early Christian in the first five century. Only distorted facts and legends are available.
By the time Simon Magus comes into the light of recorded history, he is already an accomplished teacher of extraordinary influence.
The Simon’ powers to heal and perform wonders were astounding. He was turning stones into bread, traveling through the air, standing unharmed in fire, assuming various shapes, causing heavy objects to move and opening locked doors without contact.
The fall of Simon Magus Legend
Simon eventually journeyed to Rome, where he was as enthusiastically received as he had been in his homeland. Tradition holds that he engaged in debates with Apostle Peter – recorded in the “Clementine Homilies” and preserved in Christian literature.
I come to Simon Magus trying to explain to myself the Pompeo Batoni’ paint “The Fall of Simon Magus” (1755) and the mystery of cancelling of this Vatican’ project – after the paint was done in nine years and the work of translating it into a mosaic for Saint Peter Cathedral altar had already been in progress for one year.
If you do not know the story of competition between Apostle Peter and the Gnostic Simon Magus in front of Emperor Nero and Rome population, you may look at painting and think it does something with early aviation or flying experiments. We need to know the legend to understand the painting.
Legend says that Peter challenged Simon to fly through the air, and that when he easily did so, Peter caused him to fall to earth by a prayer. According to one version, Simon broke his legs and retired in shame, dying in ignominy some time later. According to another, Simon was killed on the spot by the fall.
For me the eighteen century Pompeo Batoni’ painting “The fall of Simon Magus” and the strange Vatican rejection after ten years of studies and work has an explanation.
In 1756 after so many centuries (17) the Vatican wanted people better forget about Simon Magus’ first Gnostic legend. It was not politically correct for Vatican to advertise Simon Magus any more. Apostle Peter had been already recognized as founder of Christian Church in Rome since first century.
Pompeo Batoni’ brilliant painting stimulate curiosity and questions about subject and old competitors to early Christian religion.
That was exactly what happened to me. I needed to know Who was Simon Magus? The results of my research are few web pages.
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