Greece and Turkey 2012


PATMOS       9-2-12

Although this island, like the rest of the Greek isles, is rich in history and conquerors, it is best know for an action taken while it was under Roman rule. St. John, of Matthew-Mark-Luke-John Apostles fame, was exiled to the Island in the year 95 A.D. by the ruling Roman emperor. In a cave half way up one of the Patmos mountains he wrote Revelations, the last book of the Christian Bible. Our first stop from the ship is the town of Skala where we board a bus to visit what is now called the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse. Patmos

To get to the cave, we had to walk down 50 or so stone steps, no two of which were the same height. When St. John was living in it, the cave opened to a beautiful view of the sea and a large expanse of other portions of the island. A "chapel" was later built in front of the cave entrance although the cave face was preserved. The guide pointed out where St. John supposedly used a slight hollow in one part of the cave wall as a stone pillow. Tradition says that in a spot where the substantial dome of the cave splits into three sections forming a clear triangle, St. John heard the voice of God.

PatmosWe then drove up to the top of one of the highest peaks in Patmos where the Monastery of St. John was built in the 11th century. It was built as both a fort and monastery on top of a former Temple of the Goddess Diana at the initiative of a monk. The island had been all but abandoned for centuries until a monk, PatmosChristodoulos, sought permission from the Byzantine Emperor to build this high-walled monastery/fort on the Island. The emperor was absolutely delighted because it would help put a military presence on Patmos. In fact the emperor was so delighted that in six foot long parchment still preserved in the Monastery museum the emperor declared Christodoulos the full and absolute owner of Patmos. The emperor signed the document in red ink (the emperor was the only one who was allowed to do that) and our guide said that for a long time even a succession of Muslim sultans honored that ownership.

From the Monastery we visited what was called the oldest continuously occupied home on the island, which is now on its 8th generation. (Somehow that doesn't make sense, but that's what the plaque on the wall said.) We met the engaging matriarch, a woman in her mid-80's, who opens the upper floor of her home as a museum. There were rooms filled with just about everything from trays and plates to elaborate and lacy bed canopies. I think she opens her home because she is basically a gregarious Greek who enjoys having a steady stream of company, especially if she can sell them some local hand-crocheted coasters and similar items.

PatmosWe then went for lunch at a restaurant named Anoni and watched, and took part in, some traditional Greek folk dances. Carol, as usual, was the belle of the ball. (Carol's note: NOT true. More of our bus group was up on stage gettingPatmos basic how-to-dance-Greek lessons than remained sitting at the tables where we had just finished a delightful lunch. I'm writing this before I've even seen the photos Peter took of this OPA! activity, so maybe I'll soon thank him for staying put.)

Home  |  Australia 2003  |  Across America  |  Impressions Of China  |  Vietnam  |  Africa  |  Around The World 2009  |  South America 2009
Legendary Cultures 2011  |  Greece & Turkey 2012  |  
Circle The Arctic  |  France-Denmark 2016  |  Helsinki-Norway 2016