The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse are located on the Island of Patmos and together, they are closely linked to the settlement of Chora. They constitute an outstanding example of Greco-Orthodox pilgrimage. Chora town is one of the few Greek towns that have evolved uninterrupted from as early as 12th century.

The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos
The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse are located on the Island of Patmos and together, they are closely linked to the settlement of Chora. They constitute an outstanding example of Greco-Orthodox pilgrimage. Chora town is one of the few Greek towns that have evolved uninterrupted from as early as 12th century. 

The two sites commemorate the ‘Beloved Disciple’ of Christ, St. John the Theologian who is credited with writing the Gospel of St. John and the book of Revelation (Apocalypse) in the bible.

The island of Patmos is the northern most of the Dodecanese group with a surface area of 88 square kilometers. The island is barren and is formed by volcanic massifs that are connected by narrow isthmuses. In the island, you will find 3 settlements including; the medieval Chora, the harbor of Skala that was built in the 19th century, and the rural village of Kampos. Note that the site selected for the Monastery of St. John the Theologian dominates the whole island.

History

Pátmos was colonized first by Dorian and then Ionian Greeks. When it was absorbed into the Roman Empire it was used, like other Aegean islands, as a place of exile for political prisoners.

The island of Patmos was colonized by the Dorians and then by Ionian Greeks. Upon assimilation into the Roman Empire, it became a place where the political prisoners were exiled. This is how St. John came to be on the island. He was brought there in AD95 during the reign of Domitian. Just like other Aegean Islands, it was completely devastated by Saracean Raiders in the 7th century and saw no occupation for the following 2 centuries.

It is not until 1088 that Hosios Christodoulos obtained permission from the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I to build a monastery on the island in memory of St John. Fortunately for him, the imperial state was encouraging resettlement on the Aegean islands and thus obtaining the permit was not a tall order.

The island came under the rule of Venetians that encouraged resettlement. The Turks were next in line to colonize the island. It is under the Turks that the islanders succeeded mostly through trade. During this time, more development was done.

Today, the island is very popular among Christian Pilgrims. Only Rome and Jerusalem surpass this island in terms of Christian Pilgrimage. Make sure you get to a chance to visit this site too.


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