Saint Paul, by birth a Cypriot, became Patriarch of Constantinople (780-784) during the reign of the Iconoclast Emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), and was a virtuous and pious, but timid man. Seeing the martyrdom which the Orthodox endured for the holy icons, the saint concealed his Orthodoxy and associated with the iconoclasts.
After the death of the emperor Leo, he wanted to restore icon veneration but was not able to accomplish this, since the iconoclasts were still quite powerful. The saint realized that it was not in his power to guide the flock, and so he left the patriarchal throne and went secretly to the monastery of St Florus, where he took the schema.
He repented of his silence and association with the iconoclasts and spoke of the necessity for convening the Seventh Ecumenical Council to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. Upon his advice, St Tarasius (February 25) was chosen to the patriarchal throne. At that time, he was a prominent imperial counselor. The saint died as a schemamonk in the year 804.