This much-loved shepherd of the Church at Alexandria was unanimously elected to the Patriarchate by the Bishops and people of that city. Though meek and humble, he was a fierce defender of holy Orthodoxy, which was then under attack by the Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). For his fearless defense of the holy Icons, Gregory was arrested at the Emperor's orders and brought in chains to Constantinople. Brought before Leo, the holy Patriarch told him clearly that he was a heretic and an enemy of the Church. The enraged Emperor had Gregory scourged, then sent into exile, where he reposed three years later.