A gifted Constantinopolitan, he had both worldly and spiritual learning. He became the Emperor"s chief administrator, and the first among the nobles at court. But he lived a life pure and unstained, as a true ascetic. He was distinguished by a rare military courage and diplomatic wisdom, and was for this greatly valued by the Emperor Leo the Wise, who once sent him to Crete to make peace terms with the Arabs, who had at that time seized the island. Succeeding in this mission, he returned to Constantinople and soon withdrew from the world and all secular occupation. He wrote lives of the saints, adding 122 new "biographies" and correcting 539 others. He entered into rest in about 960, and a fragrant and healing myrrh flowed from his body.