Patmos is known as the island of the Apocalypse. It is believed that the island took its name from the mountain Latros at Caria of Asia Minor. According to mythology, Patmos is mentioned when Orestis, who killed his mother, passed from the island. Patmos was first inhabited by Cares, according to archaeological findings at Kasteli region. The first Greek inhabitants on the island are considered to be Ions and later Dorians. In the 2nd century BC Patmos was devastated by the pirates and the Romans used to send there people in exile. Apostle Ioannis (95 AD), was exiled to Patmos where he wrote the holy book of Apocalypse in an environment of isolation and ascetic contemplation. From the 6th till the 9th century Patmos was devastated once more by the pirates' raids. In 11th century Osios Christodouls o Latrinos, a distinguished scholar of the Church, took over, and he established the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis (Saint John) Theologos, and he was granted an emperor's decree for tax autonomy and the right to keep a ship, which at that time was a special privilege. The first village on the island was developed around the Monastery in 12th century. In 1522 Rhodes was conquered by the Ottomans. The invasion of the Venetians at Patmos took place in 1659 and the rulers looted the Monastery. At the end of 16th century Patmos entered a new period of prosperity and in 1713 Makarios Kalogeras established the Patmos School, an intellectual hotbed for distinguished scholars and national rulers. In 19th century it was financially and socially powerful and was more open to European influences concerning ideas and architecture (e.g. neoclassicism). In 1948 Patmos joined Greece after the period of Italian rule.
HISTORICAL LANDMARKS & MONUMENTS
Bronze Age settlement (Aspri Bay): Traces of a settlement demonstrate that Patmos was first inhabited in prehistoric times.
Ancient acropolis (On the slopes of the Kasteli elevation- 3rd century BC): The remains of a fortified acropolis, with a wall of black trachyte and reinforced with towers, this is a classic example of Hellenistic fortification. It remained in use until the Roman period. The Church of Aghios Konstantinos was later built here.
Monastery of Aghios Ioannis (Hora - 11th century): The Monastery of St. John consists of a number of fortified buildings from different periods in a complex extending over five levels. The defensive enclosure of the monastery includes battlements and towers. On the projection above the gateway was the "murderer", an aperture through which boiling oil, lead or water could be poured down on besieging troops. Within the fortified enclosure there are ten chapels and 99 cells. Most interesting of the chapels are those of Aghion Apostolon and Blessed Christodoulos, which was built in 1093 when disciples of the holy man brought his relics to Patmos. The courtyard is cobbled and surrounded by archways. Among the important buildings are the monastery's catholicon, the refectory, the kitchens, the vestry, the library, the abbot's quarters, the storerooms and the conservation laboratory where works of art and manuscripts are restored and preserved.
Catholicon: This is an inscribed cruciform, four-column church, to which the front stoa and side chapels were later added. It was probably built on the site of the ancient Temple of Artemis, the island's divine protector. It is illuminated by precious chandeliers and silver candlesticks and decorated with superb wall paintings dating from about 1600. The exquisite and valuable carved wooden screen was made in 1820.
Vestry: The vestry is the repository of a number of exquisite portable icons, such as the mosaic of Aghios Nikolaos (11th century) as well as a host of religious relics of great value, including vestments embroidered with gold and silver thread, the epigonatia of the Pieta (15th century) and the Vision of the Apocalypse (1787), works by the celebrated embroiderer Florou (1703), the ‘aeras' by the embroiderer Mariora (1753) etc. There are also books illuminated by hand, gifts from popes and the founding charter of the monastery, granted by the Emperor Alexis I Comnenus.
Holy Cave of the Apocalypse (Hora): This is the cave which was home to John the Evangelist from 95 AD, when he was exiled by the Romans. It was here that God revealed to him the vision of the Apocalypse - the end of the world, ordered by divine will. A complex of buildings and chapels has grown up around the cave, with the Church of the Apocalypse, the chapels of Aghia Anna, Aghios Artemis and Aghios Nikolaos, and the earliest buildings of the School of Patmos. There is also a church dedicated to two saints (17th century) built on the site of an earlier place of worship (11th century).
Ecclesiastical school of Patmos (1713): The school offered education to important personalities and gradually acquired a fame that spread all across the Greek world. In 1947, after a brief period in which its operations were transferred to Samos, it was rebuilt a few metres above its original site, in the position where it stands today among the densely planted trees looking down on Skala.
Church of Panayia Geranou (north-eastern part of Patmos, peninsula of Geranos): In the grounds there are the remains of an ancient township.
Prophitis Ilias Hermitage (1746): Built by a priest-monk at the highest point of the island, the hermitage enjoys a marvelous view. The complex of buildings is made up of a number of cells and a walled courtyard. The main church is a single-aisle structure with dome and a screen, gilded in July 1795 by a priest-monk.
Church of Ypapanti (Presentation of the Virgin) and Church of Aghion Saranta (Hora, south of the Allotina district): The first of the two churches is a single-aisle, inscribed cruciform plan with narthex and has a carved wooden iconostasis with cross; the Church of Aghion Saranta is a single-aisle, vaulted building with narthex.
Zoodochou Pigis Monastery (Hora, Neohorion district -1608): Also known as the Mikro Monastiri (Little Monastery) this stands to the west of the Theologou Monastery (Megalo Monastiri - Large Monastery). It is a convent founded by priest-monk Pagostas from the Theologou Monastery. It has the appearance of an imposing guardhouse, with an enclosing wall along the side of which are forty nuns' cells. In the centre of the monastery are the two-story abbot's quarters and the catholicon. On the north side of the narthex there is the tomb of Parthenios. Apart from the Theologou Chapel there is also a Chapel of the Taxiarchon and the small convent of Aghia Aghion, which is outside the Monastery.
Evangelismos Monastery (south-western part of Patmos): Within the monastery are the Evangelismos catholicon, the Evangelistis Loukas and Aghios Antonios Chapel and an imposing three-story defensive tower. The Evangelismos Cenobitic Convent for nuns was founded in 1937.
Kathisma of Panayia Koumana (At the top of the Koumana hill, on the northern side of Skala Bay): The name may have come from the tenant of the region, Koumanis (13th century). It is also known as the Kathisma of Aghion Panton, and has a miracle-working icon of the Virgin.
Askitiria (Hermitage) (Petra): Petra is a narrow, rocky strip terminating in a huge rock, known as the Kallikatzous rock, home to many birds. There is clear evidence that hermits have made their home here: shelves carved into the rock, the mouth of an oven, a well and a conduit for water.
Church of Panayia Fylachtomeni or Fylassousis (Petra, at foot of legendary Kallikatzous rock, on south-eastern side, surrounded by sea): The sunken foundations of the church have survived, as have some steps carved in the rock and a column which probably once supported the communion table.
MUSEUMS, EXHIBITIONS, LIBRARIES
Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Theologos library: it was established by Osios Christodoulos with manuscripts that he brought from his looted library in Asia Minor.
It is considered one of the most important libraries of Orthodox Church. It includes 890 handwritten Codes, 325 of which are parchments. There are more than 13.000 documents in the Archive that refer to the History of the Monastery and Patmos.
Simantiri Mansion (Hora, Neohorion district, next to the Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi - established in 1625): A typical mansion of Patmos has been converted to cultural monument with old furniture, paintings, a rare icon stand containing icons of Russian school of 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, etc.
Modern development left the traditional architecture of the two main villages on Patmos, Hora and Skala (harbor) almost untouched.
Skala: The Italian administration buildings (today's Harbor Authority and Police Station) were built in syncretic International Style imposed by the Italians throughout Dodecanese.
Hora: The capital of the island, and the administrative and cultural center, a place of spirituality and unspoiled aesthetics and history. Following the fall of Constantinople, 100 Byzantine families found refuge here and they built a second district west of the Monastery. The fortification zone that surrounds the Byzantine district ("esocastro" or "pentapili") is considered an excellent sample of fortification construction.
The architecture and particularly the internal arrangement of the houses are remarkable. These houses are simple but charming in their geometric self-sufficiency and functionality. Modest white houses mix with two-floor neoclassic mansions.
The narrow roads - kalderimia - with the historic kalderimi of 1819 to stand out - are Daedal and yet seductive. The City Hall building is the most important sample of neoclassicism.
The most distinguished religious event is the magnificent religious ceremony of Ieros Niptiras in the morning of Holy Thursday that is based on New Testament. It goes back to relevant Byzantine customs and it was established, the tradition says, at the beginning of 17th century (period of Turkish rule) as a reenactment of Last Supper. Other customs of Easter: on Holy Friday: Reenactment of Apokathilosi - the removal of Christ from the cross - at the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Theologos. On Easter Sunday: the Mass of Second Resurrection and the Evening Mass of Love, the Gospel is read in many languages. On Tuesday after Easter Sunday: The Father Superior of the Monastery repeats the sanctification ceremony at Aghia Levia square at Hora, and the people kneel before the shrine and the icons that have been carried from the Monastery and are held by monks. A litany follows that ends up at the Monastery. Other important religious festivals of Patmos are Panayia Geranou (14/8), with evening Mass and festivities, and Stavros (13/9) with music and dances.
Traditional pastry making workshops sell cheese pies made of local dairy products and pouggia with honey and dry nuts. There are Icon and Manuscript Restoration Centers at the Aghios Ioannis Theologos Monastery as well as ceramics workshops that make ceramic decorative jars.
The Religious Music Festival of Patmos is a very important event that gathers artists and groups that play this kind of music.
RENT A CAR
Grikos Bay, 85500, Patmos Island
T: 22470 32800
F: 22470 35030
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