Son of the secretary to Emperor Constantine Copronymus, a man tortured and exiled for refusing to accept iconclasm. Nicephorus was known as a scholar and eloquent speaker, and served as an imperial commissioner. Built a monastery near the Black Sea. A layman, he was chosen patriarch of Constantinople in 806. When he gave absolution to the priest who had illicitly married Emperor Constantine VI and Theodota while Constantine’s wife Mary was still alive, Nicephorus fell into conflict with Saint Theodore Studites, but the two later reconciled. Nicephorus worked for a return to monastic discipline, reform of the administration of the diocese, and evangelization of the lay people. Brought Saint Methodius of Constantinople from his monastery on Chios to help. Opposed Emperor Leo the Armenian’s attempt to return to iconoclasm, and was deposed by a synod of iconoclastic bishops. Several attempts were made his life, and he was exiled to the monastery he had built on the Black Sea. He spent his final 15 years there, praying and writing history and treatises against iconoclasm.
- “Saint Nicephorus of Constantinople“. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 March 2015. Web. 3 May 2015. <>