In 813, after Leo V the Armenian deposed Michael, Leo made Niketas a eunuch, to prevent him from becoming emperor, and imprisoned him in a [[monastery]]. At this time Niketas’ name was changed to Ignatius. While in the monastery, he embraced the [[monasticism|monastic]] life and became its [[abbot]]. He also founded three monasteries on the Princes Islands in the Sea of Marmara near Constantinople, where Roman royalty were exiled. Ignatius was [[ordination|ordained]] by Basil, Bishop of Paros.
In 847, after the death of her husband the emperor [[Theophilus the Iconoclast]], Empress [[Theodora (9th century empress)|Theodora]], a staunch [[iconodule]] and regent for her son Michael III, appointed Ignatius Patriarch of Constantinople, succeeding the reposed Methodius I. As patriarch, Ignatius soon became involved is the dispute between the [[Studion Monastery|Stoudites]] and the defenders of former [[iconoclast]]s. Siding with the Stoudites, Ignatius deposed their leader Gregory Asbestas, the [[archbishop]] of Syracuse who then appealed to Pope Leo IV in Rome. This action set off a period of conflict in relations between Constantinople and Rome.
As Michael grew up under the regency of his mother, the empress Theodora, he came under the influence of his maternal uncle, Caesar Bardas, who was noted for his sinful life. To improve his position, Bardas undermined the authority of Theodora until, in 855, he convinced Michael to depose his mother and send her to a monastery with her daughters. Ignatius refused to bless their monastic clothing. Ignatius, who had been a strong critic of Bardas, soon lost the support of Michael. In 857,wanting to avoid a conflict between the Church and the government, his bishops advised him to resign. To replace Ignatius, The bishop’s council of both sides recommended to Michael as the new patriarch the layman [[Photius the Great|Photius]] to avoid the election of bishops from rival parties. Over his protests, Photius ordained through the Holy Orders and consecrated as [[patriarch]] on [[December 24]]. 858 by Gregory Asbesta, who had been rehabilitated by the bishop’s council, and two Ignatian bishops. Photius was a scholar and strong opponent of the iconoclasts.