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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page added in November 2006.

Patmo (Patmos)

Key dates:
1190 The Byzantine Emperor Alexis I Comnenus offers the island to the blessed Christodoulos to found a monastery
1453 The population of the island is increased by refugees from Constantinople
1537 The Ottomans impose a yearly tax on the monastery
1669 Refugees from Candia resettle in the island
1912-1943 Italian rule

View of the town (at the top of the hill) from the northern part of the island

The island of Patmos is very small (only 13 square miles), but it is well known for its mention in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse of John): the tradition identifies this John with St John the Evangelist who was exiled to Patmos.

The town and the monastery of Patmo

Chora (town) is located on a hill in the central part of the island and is dominated by the shape of the monastery, especially now that all the houses are painted white.

The monastery: details of its fortifications

The external appearance of the monastery is very much that of a fortress: it was initially built in the XIth century but its fortifications were strengthened in the XVth and in the XVIIth centuries.

The monastery: main courtyard

The monastery is structured around a central courtyard which was modified several times and was thoroughly redesigned in 1698.

The main church of the monastery: details of its frescoes

The narthex (porch) of the main church is entirely decorated with frescoes portraying in general episodes of the life of St John the Evangelist including the saint defeating the devils who tempted him (for another Orthodox monastery with many frescoes click here).

Other abbeys/monasteries in this web site:
Monastero di S. Paolo fuori le Mura
Abbazia di S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane
Sacro Speco di S. Benedetto a Subiaco
S. Scolastica a Subiaco
Abbazia di Farfa
Abbazia di S. Nilo a Grottaferrata
Abbazia di Fossanova
Abbazia di Casamari
Abbazia di Pomposa
The monasteries at Meteora in Greece
The monastery of Sumela in Turkey
The monastery of Deyr az Zafaran at Mardin in Turkey
The abbey of Bellapais on Cyprus

Mosaics at the monastery (left) and at the cave where St John wrote the Apocalypse (right)

In addition to the main monastery at the top of the hill there is a smaller monastery at the cave where St John the Evangelist wrote the Apocalypse.

View from the monastery towards Skala (the modern harbour) and the northern part of the island

The view from the monastery and from the cave is so peaceful that Patmos seems the most unlikely place to write a book about the end of the world.

Churches of Patmo

The religious atmosphere of Patmos is emphasized by many churches surrounding the monastery.

Streets of Patmo

Today there is a tendency to emphasize the "cycladic" appearance of the towns in the Aegean islands: the streets of Kritika (the quarter where the refugees from Crete resettled) and Alotina (where the refugees from Constantinople resettled) would gain if they were given back their medieval atmosphere by uncovering the stone structure of their buildings.

Move to
Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses
Introductory page on the Fortresses of the Knights of Rhodes
Introductory page on the Fortresses of the Sultans

Clickable Map of the Ionian and Aegean Seas with links to other locations covered in this website (opens in a separate window)