In his eagerness to restore the simplicity of the primitive church he even assailed Mariolatry, intercession of saints, relics and perhaps infant baptism, to the scandal even of the iconoclast bishops themselves.
The theologians whom Louis the Pious convened at Paris in 825, to answer the letter received from the iconoclast emperor Michael Balbus, were as hostile to the orthodox Greeks as to the image-worshippers, and did not scruple to censure Pope Adrian for having approved of the empress Irene's attitude.
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.
But the tide of conquest was stemmed by the iconoclast emperors, and the Arab expeditions, excepting those of Harun al-Rashid, 781 and 806, and of elMotasim, 838, became simply predatory raids.
The cult of images was now solemnly restored, iconoclast bishops deposed or reconciled, the dogmatic theory of images defined, and church discipline re-established.
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.
The worship of images never seems to have taken root among Armenians; indeed they supplied the Greek world with iconoclast soldiers and emperors.
His son Gegnesius in 722 was taken to Constantinople, where he won over to his opinions the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian.