Emilian served as bishop in Cyzicus, during the reign of the nefarious Emperor Leo the Armenian, the iconoclast. Since he did not want to submit to the decrees of the emperor,which demanded the removal of icons from the churches, Emilian and other Orthodox bishops were sent into exile. He spent five years in exile, enduring much pain and humiliation for the sake of Christ. Emilian died in the year 820 A.D. and took up his habitation among the citizens of heaven.