Born at Germanicia in Syria, and, before he mounted the throne, captain-general of the Anatolian theme, he had come under the influence of the anti-idolatrous sects, such as the Jews, Montanists, Paulicians and Manicheans, which abounded in Asia Minor, but of which he was otherwise no friend.
Though these extremists were presently branded as heretics for their eccentric ultraascetic tenets (Montanists, Cathari), yet as early as Tertullian's time (c. A.D.
After an apparently successful attempt to enforce the baptism of all Jews and Montanists in his realm (722), he issued a series of edicts against the worship of images (726-729).
Especially the wild ecstatic character and the prophecies of the Montanists recall the old type of religion.
This failing, he ejected suspected prelates, and occasionally persecuted them, though with far less severity than that applied to the heretics of a deeper dye, such as Montanists or even Arians.