Michael III

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Michael III

(Michael the Amorian or Phrygian), 836–67, Byzantine emperor (842–67), son and successor of Theophilus and grandson of Michael II. His minority saw the final overthrow of iconoclasmiconoclasm
[Gr.,=image breaking], opposition to the religious use of images. Veneration of pictures and statues symbolizing sacred figures, Christian doctrine, and biblical events was an early feature of Christian worship (see iconography; catacombs).
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 and a severe persecution of the PauliciansPaulicians
, Christian heretical sect. The sect developed in Armenia from obscure origins and is first mentioned in the middle of the 6th cent., where it is associated with Nestorianism.
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. Upon coming of age he entrusted the government to his capable uncle, Bardas, whose administration (856–66) was marked by the missions of saints Cyril and MethodiusCyril and Methodius, Saints
, d. 869 and 884, respectively, Greek missionaries, brothers, called Apostles to the Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literature. Their history and influence are obscured by conflicting legends.
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 to the Slavs and by the conversion of Czar Boris I of Bulgaria. The Arabs continued their raids into the empire and extended their conquests in Sicily, although their eastward expansion was temporarily stopped (863). In the north, he defeated (860–61) the Russians. Michael made Basil of Macedonia (later Basil I) one of his favorites and together they had Bardas assassinated in 866. Basil was made coemperor. He then murdered Michael and became sole emperor. The schism precipitated by the patriarch PhotiusPhotius
, c.820–892?, Greek churchman and theologian, patriarch of Constantinople, b. Constantinople. He came of a noble Byzantine family. Photius was one of the most learned men of his time, a professor in the university at Constantinople and, under Byzantine Emperor
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 began in the last year of Michael's reign.