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Greece: Next stop Patmos

By Staff | May 13, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth part of a series sharing my recent travels to Greece.

The island of Patmos is home to the city of Chora which is where our on-shore excursion took us.

According to mythology, Patmos was a present from Zeus to his daughter Artemis, goddess of hunting and young women. She was worshipped here in antiquity, and the monastery of St. John was built on her temple.

Chora is the home of the Monastery of St. John and the Grotto of the Apocolypse and serves as the capital city of Patmos.

Designated as “Holy Island” by the Greek Parliament in 1981 as well as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Patmos had been used as a place of exile by the Romans on account of its steep morphology. That’s how St. John found safe refuge here in the 1st century A.D., exiled by the Emperor Domitian.

According to the history of the island, the Book of Revelation was written in 95 A.D. in the Holy Cave of the Apolacypse, where St. John heard the voice of God talking to him.

The Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse was built as a castle in 1088 by the monk Christodoulos Latrinos. A cultural and religious centre since its first day of use, it took another five centuries for it to spread its activities all around the island and not just the town of Hora (Chora), where it is situated.

Buildings of different ages form the Monastery, comprising 10 chapels and 99 cells as well as a Library of 890 handwritten codes and 13,000 documents about the history of the site.

Because of the Book of Revelation, Patmos has a long history as a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Visitors can see the cave where John is said to have received his Revelation (the Cave of the Apocalypse), and several monasteries on the island are dedicated to Saint John including the one built by Latrinos.

Within the walls of the Cave of the Revelation, we were able to see the cracks in the boulders at the cave entrance, which, according to the Bible, were formed when John looked to see Jesus in the doorway.

Along the wall inside the cave (where we were unable to take photographs) is a ledge that marks the “desk” used by the author of the Book of Revelation.

Patmos is situated off the west coast of Turkey and the continent of Asia. It is one of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex. It is further west than its nearby neighboring islands.

It contains an area of 13.15 square miles. The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 metres (883 feet) above sea level.

Patmos’ main communities are Chora (the capital city) and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos.

In addition to the Christian pilgramages made here, Patmos offers many nice beaches along the jagged coastline

The people grow fruits and olives on the green hills as they do on most of the islands of Greece.

There were many beautiful shops on the walk up to the monastery. Many offered handmade items such as clothing and tableclothes.

The most typical souvenirs are to do with St. John, though, and icons are sold everywhere for varying prices.

Next stop: Rhodes/Lindos.