Thereupon he began reciting the Canons about ” superfluous Church vessels ” and after saying a good deal about them, he concluded with the words, ” I am compelled to compel those whom I do not wish to compel.” And by putting forward various bold arguments he seemed likely to win over the majority. But Metaxas opposed him, advanced some very specious counter-arguments and even jeered at Isaac himself. But in spite of him, Isaac’s proposal was carried. This decision became the subject of a very grave scandal to the Emperors (for I do not hesitate to call Isaac ” emperor ” even though he did not wear the purple), which lasted not only for the moment but for a considerable time.
The head of the church of Chalcedon at this time was a certain Leo, not one of the especially wise or intellectual, but of very virtuous life, though his manners were rough and disagreeable. This man tore off the silver and gold ornaments on the doors of the church in Chalcoprateia, and rushed into the assembly and spoke his mind freely without so much as a reference to the financial condition or the extant laws regarding Church property. Moreover he behaved very insolently, and in a most disorderly manner, to the Regent, and each time he visited the capital he abused the latter’s forbearance and kindness.
Successful encounters with the Franks
And indeed when Alexius left the city the first time to march against Robert, and the Sebastocrator Isaac, his own true brother, was collecting money from every possible source, but always with the consent of the people and in accordance with the laws and justice, Leo aroused Isaac’s wrath by his shameless behaviour. At last after many defeats and then after countless successful encounters with the Franks, the Emperor, by the sanction of Heaven, returned a crowned victor, and then he learnt that a fresh swarm of enemies, I mean the Scythians, were ready to descend upon him.
Consequently the raising of funds was hurried on for similar reasons as before, even while the Emperor was residing in the capital, and at that time Bishop Leo attacked the Emperor most impudently. About this time a great controversy arose about the holy images, and Leo laid down the principle that we should adore the sacred images, and not only give them relative honour. On some points he argued reasonably and in a manner befitting his station, but on others he laid down the law wrongly, whether this was to be attributed to the heat of contest and his hatred of the Emperor, or to ignorance, I cannot say. He was incapable of making a precise statement with conviction as he was absolutely untrained in the science of reasoning.
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