Distinguished and imposing, with the title of “island of the Revelation” as its nickname, Patmos, the northernmost island in the Dodecanese chain, is an attractive destination for thousands of travelers every year. A small arid island with mild winters and cool summers, it rises proudly out of the Aegean Sea, whose winds have sculpted a latticework coastline of picturesque bays and coves. A volcanic landscape with tall jagged summits illuminated by the whitewashed houses dotting its slopes, the architecture of the island is a unique example of simplicity and aesthetic harmony.
According to Christian tradition, John the Theologian, one of the beloved disciples of Jesus Christ, was exiled in 95 AD to Patmos, where he dictated the “Revelation” to a faithful follower and scribe, all the while preaching Christianity and converting the island’s inhabitants. By the 6th century AD, the whole of the Dodecanese group of islands had embraced the spirit of Christianity. Following three centuries of Arab incursions, Christodoulos Latrinos of Patmos founded the monastery of St. John the Theologian on the island in 1088, and with a decree signed by Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenos, the monastery was granted sovereignty over the entire island of Patmos as well as the smaller surrounding islands of Arki and Lipsi. All those participating in the construction of the monastery as well as their families and hundreds of other settlers engaged in auxiliary professions related to the monastery’s building formed the core population of the island at that time, together with the monks and supervising monastery abbots, who governed the social life and conduct of the island’s population. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 AD, dozens of wealthy families from Byzantium’s capital arrived on Patmos, bestowing wealth and nobility to this holy island.
Today, Patmos and its charming alleys and exceptionally tasteful shops, top-notch restaurants and cozily intimate bars, continues to attract highly diverse groups of travelers who wish to uncover a bit of the mysticism in the words of St. John’s Revelation during their visits to both the famed cave of the Revelation and imposing Monastery, while going on relaxing strolls in the enchanting town of Chora and discovering pristine beaches on the eastern and southern coasts of the island.