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Patmos: About the island patmos
Patmos is part of the Dodecanese islands, located in eastern part of the Aegean Sea close to Turkey. A small island, just 12km by 5km, with many indentations on its rugged coast line, Patmos is attractive for its history and its natural beauty.

The island enters recorded history with the exile of the man named John, who was sent there in the first century. While there he had a vision, that transcribed became the book of Revelation, the last, and most mystifying book of the Christian Bible. Two key sites remember his history: the cave of the revelation, and the monastery of St. John. Both can be visited, the monastery having a very interesting museum.

While visited by tourists, the island is not overrun by them, and some of the spiritual atmosphere is still apparent, at least to those who seek it.

Not a nighclubbing or beach island, it nonetheless has several serviceable examples of each. The small villages, intense green country side and pleasant atmosphere are worth a motor scooter ride around the island. Also worth a leisurely exploration is the hilltop city of Chora that clusters around the monastery, full of twisty streets, and interesting buildings. Also worth a visit is the convent of the Evangelismos, with excellent examples of modern icon and fresco painting.

Several inexpensive and decent hotels are in Skala, and there are rooms to rent there as well.

Patmos is served by large ferries from Piraeus (Athens) and Kos. Smaller boats shuttle to Samos. Particularly convenient is the overnight boat daily from Patmos to Piraeus.

Side notes

Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Curiously, there is no mention of Patmos, that I know of, in classical times, not even to the existence of the name. This is notable because the nearby island of Samos has an extensive known history during this period.

Patmos is also connected to Peter France, the BBC filmmaker. He has published a book "A Place of Healing for the soul: Patmos" (2002, Grove/Atlantic). After visits to the island, he chose to live there in a contemplative lifestyle.

Population is estimated at 3,000.

Highest point is Mt. Profitis Ilias, about 800 feet above sea level.

All photographs and images on this web site are by John P. Nordin, and cannot be reproduced commercially without permission.

In addition to a visit there in 1994, I drew on these publications to develop the site:

  • Dimitris Davaris, "Patmos: the Sacred Island", no date or publisher
  • Athanasios Kominis, "Patmos: Treasures of the Monastery," 1988, Ekdotike Athenon
  • S. A. Papadopoulos, "The Monastery of St. John the Theologian," 1993, published by the Monastery
  • Tom Stone, "Patmos", 1984, Lycabettus Press
  • [no author given] Patmos: The Convent of the 'Evangelismos' A Brief History; [no publication data]
  • [Map] "Patmos", The Pale Collection, Davaris Publications
smith I also gratefully acknowledge the insight and information provided by the late Rev. Prof. Robert Smith, professor of New Testament at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, who made many trips to Patmos and introduced me to the island. He loved Greece and the Greek people and was a true scholar, teacher, and pastor whose insight to the scripture seemed to be without end. His wife, also a pastor, also wise and generous, is a constant delight to be around.
Last modified 3/13/18; posted 1999; original content © 2018, 1999 John P. Nordin