Jerusalem of the AegeanĒ
is one way of describing Patmos or Patnos, as it was referred to
in one 5th century inscription. It was here that St. John the
Theologian was exiled between 95 and 97 A.D. and was inspired to
write the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse.
Later the emperor Alexios Komninos ordered the monk
Christodoulos Letrinos to find a monastery in honour of the
Apostle. Thus the holy monastery of Patmos was built, the most
important landmark on the island.
In September 1995 it was celebrated the anniversary of the 1900
years from the date that the Book of Revelation was written.
Patmos, situated between Leros and Ikaria, is a mountainous
island with rocky soil and an abundance of small coves.
The majestic fortress-monastery crowns the hill above the port,
surrounded by dazzling white, cubelike houses, which spill down
its flanks. Interspersed among them are miniscule churches and
grand sea captainsí mansions, separated from each other by
narrow lanes, high walls and small squares opening onto
breath-catching views over the Aegean.
The construction of the monastery began in the 11th century. It
is circumscribed by massive grey stonewalls with battlements
that protected the main church and another five chapels. Its
extraordinary treasury contains Byzantine and post-Byzantine
icons, sacred vessels, 9th century embroideries and other
pricelless objects, while its library houses parchment
documents, patriarchal seals, illuminated manuscripts and rare
old books. In the chapel dedicated to Our Lady frescoes can be
seen which date to 1210-1220.
Ships arriving at Patmos dock in the islandís harbour, Skala, a
lively place with its white houses, flowered courtyards, fish
tavern as, hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops.
North of Skala is the village of Kambos, set among trees and
greenery, and near it is what many consider to be the islandís
Patmosís indented coastline conceals a host of lovely beaches.
Among the favourites are Grigos, Kallikatsou, Psili Ammos and