Patmos is a small island located in the Aegean Sea. The island is probably most well-known for having been a vision given to the disciple John by Jesus in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. It is also the location where the book was written. Early Christian tradition identifies the author John of Patmos as John the Apostle. After the death of John of Patmos, a number of basilicas were erected on the island. One of these was a Grand Royal Basilica built around 350 – 300 at the spot where the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian stands today.
The Romans used Patmos as a place for exiles, which is how Saint John ended up there. He had been ostracized from Miletus by the Roman governor for preaching the Christian faith. During the Byzantine period, the island was practically deserted and given to a monk named Christodoulos in 1088. Christodoulos would begin the planning of the monastery. During the 11th century, construction began. Its power would extend across the island’s borders and they would no longer be attacked by Turks or Venetians. The only attacks would be from pirates from time to time.
A legend in Greek mythology states that the original name of the island was “Letois” after the goddess Artemis, daughter of Leto. It was believed that the island came into existence thanks to her intervention. The myth says that the island sat at the bottom of the sea. Artemis would visit Caria, the mainland across from Patmos, often. The moon goddess Selene cast her light on the ocean, revealing Patmos to Artemis. Selene eventually convince Artemis to bring the sunken island to the surface. With her brother Apollo’s help, they would persuade Zeus to allow the island to rise. When the land was dried by the sun, inhabitants began coming from other areas.
Administrative Region for Patmos Island, Greece
Area of Patmos Island, Greece
45.0 km2 (17.4 sq mi)
Population of Patmos Island, Greece
Top Attractions in Patmos Island, Greece
Monastery of Saint John – Located on top of a hill in Patmos Town. The monastery is an important religious center in Greece. The outside looks like a fortress.
Cave of Apocalypse – This cave is located in Patmos Town. This is where Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation. A monastery has been built around the cave.
Folklore Museum – House in the Simantiri Mansion in Chora. The mansion was built in 1625. The museum has furniture, paintings, family relics, photographs, and more on display.
Monastery of Zoodochos – Located in Patmos Town. This is a female monastery that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Monastery is in close proximity to the Monastery of Saint John.
Skala Beach – One of the most popular beaches on the island. Located 4 km north of Patmos Town. Features lots of facilities, is family friendly, and close to the harbour.
Kambos Beach – 9 km north of Chora. This beach sits on a bay situated on the north side of the island. The beach is organized and water sports are available.
Windmills of Patmos – Located near the Monastery of Saint John. Two were built in 1588 and the third in 1863. They stopped being used in the 1950s, but are working once again.
Chapel of Profitis Ilias – Chapel is located at Patmos’ highest spot. The panoramic view is amazing. On a clear day you can see the neighboring islands.
Agrio Livadi Beach – 8 km north of Chora. A sandy, family friendly beach that is organized. Close to the main port on the island.
Grikos Beach – 4 km south of Chora. Grikos is a developed tourist resort. Clean beach that is partly organized and family friendly.
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