Sainted Nicephorus was a dignitary at the court of the empress Irene (797-802), and then accepting monasticism, he became known for his piety. In the year 806 he was elevated to the patriarchal throne. The saint was a zealous defender of icon veneration. When the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820) came to rule, the saint in 815 was exiled to the Island of Prokonnis, where he died in the year 828.
In the year 846 the holy relics of Patriarch Nicephorus were opened, undecayed and fragrant. They transferred them from Prokonnis to Constantinople and placed them for one day in the church of Saint Sophia, and then they transferred them to the church of the Holy Apostles. The hands of the saint are preserved in the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos.
The saint left behind three writings, directed against Iconoclasm. The memory of Saint Nicephorus is celebrated also on 2 June.