Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 66, Patmos; The Dodecanese; Greece

Our next destination is Patmos...not a big island, but it is one of the best known.
It was here St. John had his vision and wrote the apocalypse, and this is why Patmos is sometimes called "The Jerusalem of the Aegean".

The Monastery of St. John the Theologian with its priceless treasures, and the preservation of the traditional village of Chora, that was built in the Middle Ages and the Cave of the Apocalypse were the main reasons that Patmos is listed as a UNESCO WHS.

At the beginning each September, the prefectural government of the Dodecanese in cooperation with the municipality of Patmos and the monastery organize an international festival of religious music in the open air of the Cave of the Apocalypse, which lasts 10 days with the participation of choirs, orchestras and other musical ensembles from Greece and foreign interpret works of classical and contemporary music with a common religious sentiment.....oops we are a little early for this unfortunately.

Nopi, our Greek mythology fundi says that according to mythology, Patmos was a present from Zeus to his daughter Artemis, goddess of hunting and young women. She was worshipped here in antiquity, and the monastery of St. John was built on her temple.

The island has probably been inhabited since prehistoric times, and it went through the same changes as the rest of the Dodecanese. It paid tribute to Athens in the 5th century BC, belonged to the Macedonians in the 4th century BC, and was taken by the Romans in the 2nd century BC.

The Romans used Patmos as a place for exiles, and that's how St. John ended up here. He was ostracized from Miletus by the Roman governor for preaching the Christian faith in AD95, and stayed here for two years. The island was practically deserted during Byzantine years and was given to a monk named Christodoulos in 1088, and he started planning the monastery.

In the 11th century the work on the monastery started, and its power was to extend over the island's borders, to such a degree that the island was never occupied by neither Turks nor Venetians. The only attacks came from pirates now and again.

In 1912 the island was invaded by Italian forces, and libera
ted in 1948.

Its real name is Agios Ioannis o Theologos ("St. John the Theologist") ....actually it looks more like a huge fortress than a monastery.....

In fact, it was built as a fortress in the 16th century, since the island needed some sort of defense when pirates attacked.

Nopi told us that when visiting a monastery, the women must wear long skirts and have covered shoulders; and the men must wear long trousers.....oops Amit and Feroz are in their shorts......

Hey this an excuse to leave us and go windsurfing or are you perhaps going to Psili Ammos, the nudist beach??
Ok, we will catch up with you later..

In the monastery we visited the Byzantine church decorated with exquisite style frescoes and the Byzantine icon of St John, donated to the monastery by the emperor of Byzantium Alexios Komninos.

In a crypt inside the the church are the relics of the blessed monk Christodoulos, the treasury and the museum.

The two chapels next to the church of St. John are dedicated one to the Virgin Mary and the other to the blessed Christodoulos.

The Cave of Revelation lies between Chora and Skala and is where St. John had his vision.

There is a crack in the roof where Jesus appeared to him and John dictated his vision to his disciple Prochorus.
In the cave we saw a cross engraved on the rock which, according to tradition, was made by Saint John.
The Cave is surrounded by the monastery, which stands out with its white colour.
A few steps carved in the rock leads in to the monastery.

That was pretty let's do some shopping girls

We bought many handmade things on the island, but the typical souvenirs are related to St.John, though, and icons are sold everywhere.

The guys have rejoined us's dinner time....
Local specialties are different dishes of fish and seafood such as squid stuffed with rice, octopus stew and octopus grilled as well as local cheeses and sweets......

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