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An observer during the time of Constantine was the great Christian historian Eusebius. He mentioned that Simon Magus was indeed the originator of all heresy in the Christian community and that even in his day there were people who were feigning Christianity but at the same time were bringing into vogue the use of idolatrous images. Note what Eusebius said. "Simon was the author of all heresy. From his time down to the present those who have followed his heresy have feigned the sober philosophy of the Christians, which is celebrated among all on account of its purity of life. But they [the Simonians] have embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed to have renounced; and they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the above mentioned Helena who was with him [the images were those of Jupiter and Minerva as I have shown in previous quotes]; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations." Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, II.13.5–6, emphasis mine Recall that Eusebius was upset with Constantia, the emperor’s sister, that even she had wanted to have pictures and images of Christ and the apostles but that Eusebius displayed great abhorrence of such a request. He said, "[S]uch practices are illegal for us. ...
Are not such things [as pictures and images] excluded and banished from churches all over the world. [Eusebius thought such pictures should be destroyed] lest we appear, like idol worshipers, to carry our God around in an image." Eusebius, Letter to Constantia To Eusebius, the use of pictures, images or icons of Jesus and the apostles by Christians was a forbidden thing, though he admitted that some were beginning to use them. He said that the use of such depictions was like those who followed Simon Magus. Though Eusebius had a watchful eye and said that most followers of Simon were banished from active participation in church services at his time, he nonetheless understood that they were a pestilence that were still a menace that people should be aware of. "And what is more surprising, the same thing [faking conversion] is done to this day by those who follow his [Simon Magus’] most impure heresy. For they, after the manner of their forefather, slipping into the church, like a pestilential and leprous disease greatly affect those into who they are able to infuse the deadly and terrible poison concealed in themselves" Eusebius, Letter to Constantia, II.1.12