This holy and learned Syrian was elected pope by acclamation at the funeral of his predecessor in 731. Growing tensions between Rome and Constantinople had come to a head over the significance of holy pictures and statues. Emperor Leo III, in power in Constantinople, campaigned against the veneration of sacred images and relics. Gregory III convened a synod in Rome that condemned this iconoclasm, or image-breaking, and sanctioned the veneration of sacred images and relics. Leo then seized papal estates in Italy, taking a step toward the eventual schism between East and West. Pope Gregory also focused on missionary work and church administration in the West.