SIMONY, SIMONIAC

Simony is the crime of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices or favors. The word is seldom used today, and then only in a religious context. Simon Magus, a Samaritan sorcerer, is responsible for this eponymous term. Many stories about him have circulated. In Acts, Simon offered money to Peter and John to purchase the power of giving the Holy Ghost. Hence the crime of simony, practiced by simoniacs.
The story of Simon’s conversion to Christianity is told in the Bible (Acts 8:9-24). The passage points out that Simon’s conversion was made only so that he could obtain the new powers of sorcery that he thought the apostles possessed.