His son Gegnesius in 722 was taken to Constantinople, where he won over to his opinions the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian.
The worship of images never seems to have taken root among Armenians; indeed they supplied the Greek world with iconoclast soldiers and emperors.
He practised his profession first at Macao and then at Canton, but from the outset of his career displayed more interest in politics than in medicine, being by temperament an iconoclast, an organizer of secret societies and a leader of conspiracies against the established order of things.
Theophilus, the last of the iconoclast emperors, was a devoted Mariolater and controversialist who invited the monks to discuss the question of images with him, and whipped or branded them when he was out-argued; he at length banished them from the cities, and branded on the hands a painter of holy pictures, Lazarus by name, who declined to secularize his art; he also raised to the patriarchal throne John Hylilas, chief instigator of the reaction of 815.
The iconoclast emperor Leo V., an Armenian, persecuted the sect afresh, and provoked a rising at Cynoschora, whence many fled into Saracen territory to Argaeum near Melitene.