It is an imposing building dominating the top of Chora, reminiscent of a Byzantine castle. It is the Patmos trademark: a great, majestic, medieval castle-monastery with rich history and religious spiritual value.
The History of the Monastery of St John the Theologian
The small island of Patmos in the Dodecanese is reputed to be the place where Saint John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse around 95 AD. The monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in 1088 by Saint Christodoulos Latrinos, and has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox spirituality ever since. Its foundation was part of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos’ policy to colonize the islands and create a base in the Aegean. The Earliest Elements, belonging to the 11th century, are the main church of the monastery, the Chapel of Panagia and the refectory. The north and west sides of the courtyard are lined with the white walls of the monastic cells and the south side is formed by the Tzafara, a two-storey arcade of 1698, built in dressed stone, while the outer narthex of the “Katholikon” – the central church of the monastery- forms the east side.
What to See in the Monastery
The interior courtyard outside the “katholikon” offers an oasis of coolness and shade, while it is an elegant artwork of Orthodox ecclesiastical art. You will admire the enormous walls surrounding the monastery, the architecture, the temple, the bell tower, the cells, and the priceless treasures that are kept in the museum. It is worth visiting the museum. (2-euro ticket) Its exhibits are amazing: the Byzantine golden concession of the island, vestments, gospels, Byzantine heirlooms, ecclesiastical utensils, icons, manuscripts, Chrysobulls of Byzantine emperors, sultan’s fires, and more.
Since the monastery is located on the highest point of the island, the view is unobstructed and stunning stretching from the island of Patmos to the Aegean Sea and the neighboring islands.
The communication with the monks is also very beneficial and constructive.
Appropriate wear in the Holy Monastery are long skirts for women or long trousers for men. Easter in Patmos
Patmos is famous for its Easter and every year thousands of pilgrims come here to experience the sacred character of the island, as Easter is celebrated with special honor. Events are held throughout the Holy Week, culminating in the “Ceremony of the Niptiras“ on the morning of the Great Thursday, depicting the act of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, accompanied by ecclesiastical hymns. On Great Friday the reconstruction takes place in the Monastery and the same night all the epitaphs meet in the squares of Skala and Chora. The Resurrection also takes place in the Monastery, and on Easter Day, the Gospel is read in seven languages, in the so called “Ceremony of Love.” On the third day of Easter, the holy relics and icons of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian are processed by the abbot all over the Chora.