He spent his life as an ascetic, traveller, preacher and defender of the true faith. His parents had arranged for him to marry, but he chose the path of monasticism and left his parental home early to follow his dream. He lived as a recluse, taking guidance from his spiritual father, and abbot.
One night, as he was praying, he saw a vision of an angel of light who showed him the paradise that awaited a righteous person after the resurrection of the dead. The angel commanded him to go out into the world to defend the faith. He turned for guidance to his spiritual father, fearing that his vision might not be from God, but his father reassured him and told him to engage in ascetic labours to thank God for the vision.
He performed his ascetic feats in the ninth century at the time when the heresy of iconoclasm was setting in the Byzantine Empire. Iconoclasts opposed the veneration of icons and religious images. They found support among Byzantine's church hierarchy and at the imperial court. The defenders of icons were persecuted and found refuge in remote monasteries.
In fulfilment of the command in the vision, the saint wandered across Asia Minor preaching against the heretics. He stayed in the houses of poor people. They welcomed him despite the legal prohibition against accommodating monks who defended the icons. The saint ended his life in Constantinople, where he departed to the Lord only a few years before the end of the heresy and reinstatement of the true faith.
His righteousness and piety earned him miracle-working powers that continued long after his death. His relics are kept at the Monastery of Bistritsa in Romania and are venerated by thousands of pilgrims from around the world.