Even though we had a pleasant morning/afternoon in Samos, our day was still not over! After a short ride on the cruise ship (which consisted mostly of napping in the Mediterranean sun), we arrived in Patmos.
Patmos is an important sight for Christians, and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint John was exiled to the island by Roman Emperor Domitian. In the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos, it is believed Saint John heard the voice of God and wrote the Book of Revelation somewhere around 95 A.D. The Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse was built in 1088 to honor Saint John.
The Holy Monastery stands on what feels like the top of the island. From the outside, it looks more like a fortress than a holy site, however, after the tour guide told us a monk had to abandon the island because of pirate raids I understood the aesthetic.
The Book of Revelation tells the story of the apocalypse and governs how Christians believe the world will end. Even though I went to Catholic school for all of my elementary and middle school years, I still find this narrative interesting but extremely confusing. When I asked my local priest, he compared the Book of Revelations to the Lord of the Rings.
Some claim the signs listed in Revelation have already appeared. While a good apocalypse would break up the boredom of everyday life, considering all of the work I have put into my education I rather get my degree before the four horsemen arrive. You can read an “enlightening” article about how apparently the world might end in 2025 here.
What makes Patmos unique is that it is the only island that is explicitly said to be the place of writing in the New Testament (“Patmos” [Bible Places]). Whatever your beliefs may be, in this location you can see where part of the best-selling book in the world was created. Apparently, the rock the cave is made of is a rare type of volcanic rock that would have taken 100 years to cool. There is a crack in the rock that splits in 3 directions. This is believed to be the exact spot God spoke to St. John (“The Historic Centre “).
Looking at the small cave Saint John lived in for eighteen years (“Patmos” [Sacred Sites]) was extremely humbling. It made my 10×10 overcrowded dorm room look like a palace. I am Catholic, however, I am also glad that according to historic trends my gender makes it much less likely I will be writing the Book of Revelations 2.0.
At the monastery my parents bought a handmade door knocker of a lion, as we are now a proud Penn State family. I am glad that now everyday they go through the front door, they think of our wonderful vacation as well as crippling college debt.
I’m not sure if St. John was too busy to enjoy the beauty around him, but I hope he did. As we sat and watched the sunset, Patmos did seem like a place God would talk to man.
“The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, whc.unesco.org/en/list/942.
“Patmos” BiblePlaces.com, www.bibleplaces.com/patmos/.
“Patmos.” Sacred Sites, sacredsites.com/europe/greece/patmos.html.