Patmos (Latmos was the name in the antiquity) was inhabited in the prehistoric times by the Carians, later by the Dorians, and later by the Ionians. The name Patmos is believed to have come from the name of a mountain found in Near East called Latmos.
The walls in the Kastelli area, dated back to the 6th and 4th centuries BC and the findings around, reveal the existence of an acropolis, a hippodrome, temples of the Apollo, and Dionysos Gods, signaling that there was a great city there. The patron goddess of the island was considered to be Patmia Artemis, on whose temple ruins was built the great monastery of St. John the Theologian in Chora by Osios Christodoulos.
A Place of Exile
Romans used the island as a place of exile. That is why in 95 AD, the beloved disciple of Christ, Ioannis, was found on it during the domination of the Emperor Domitian. On the island, Ioannis the Theologian wrote the “Revelation (Apocalypse)”, one of the books of the Holy Bible.
The Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian was erected in the 11th century and two centuries later, the residents were allowed to build houses near the Monastery in order to protect the inhabitants from the pirate attacks that afflicted the Aegean Sea. That is why the monastery looks like a castle. The houses touched the walls of the Monastery so that the inhabitants could climb to the roofs of their houses and lock themselves inside the monastery to be protected from the pirates.
During the 17th century Patmos was a trade center. In the port of the island, traders brought goods from Venice, France, England, Italy, and even from Netherlands. At that time the Patmian people built mansions, large churches, and monasteries in the Northern part of Chora. In 1630, the island had a large and safe harbor. During this period Patmos had about 4,000 inhabitants, 93 monks, and more than 100 churches.
The Patmian School
Another important historical fact is the establishment of the Patmian School in the 18th-century. This school played an important role in the Greek nation’s renaissance with great figures of letters and ecclesiastical action emerged from it.