A few years ago, when we were on our cruise of the Greek Islands, one of the islands we stopped at was 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 prevailing theory, 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. Turned into a place of worship by the monk Christodoulos Latrinós in the 11th century the cave –on whose walls we can trace the fingerprints of St. John’s himself–, is still open to the devout Christians.
The Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse was built as a castle in 1088 by the monk Christodoulos Latrinós. 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 Hóra (Chora), where it is situated. Around this Monastery revolve Holy Week and Easter celebrations every year.
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.
We visited in October so there were no Easter celebrations for us. We also decided to skip the crowds heading to the monastery. Our shipmates were driving us to distraction and we just needed some downtime away from them on our short stay . . .