This is the medieval, Byzantine monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the island of Patmos (northern Dodecanese, Greece). Fortified with towers and machicolations, the abbey stands atop a mountain where the cave of the apocalypse is located. Inside, St John is said to have received visions from God, portraying the end of the world: the coming of the four riders of the apocalypse, the seven trumpets sounded by seven angels, the plagues, the Idolatress of Babylon riding a seven headed beast and the armies of heaven, commanded by Archangel Michael fighting the dragon. These are some of the most powerful images conveyed in the Holy Bible and Patmos, as the only part of Greece marked by the Apocalypse of God, the Divine Presence and the Epiphany, is one of the most holy sites of the Greek world.
Despite its Biblical importance, the Byzantine monastery was only established on Patmos in the 11th C. It was founded by emperor Alexios I Komnenos who, faced with Islamic invasion in Asia Minor, endowed many Aegean islands with gifts and support (e.g. he founded the monastery on the island of Amorgós -> fav.me/d8rmiji ). Patmos, however, is unique as it is one of the few Byzantine abbeys that have never been looted. Local monks were frequently forced to pay tribute to foreigners: Venetians, Genoese, the knights of St John from Rhodes and the Ottoman Empire, but its powerful walls were never breached. Thus, the monastery’s library preserves over 1000 manuscripts including priceless codices such as the 6th C. purple codex as well as hundreds of other pieces of art. This level of continuity is rare even in Western Europe. Surrounded by medieval village (Chora), the monastery on Patmos is truly a piece of Byzantium that has survived and flourishes even today.
For me, the most fascinating exhibit was the original document (Chrysobul) in which Emperor Alexios ceded the island of Patmos and nearby islets to create a new monastery. I was told the monastery has six copies of this documents, the Chrysobull takes the form of a scroll, more than one meter long. At the bottom of the scroll, you can actually see Emperor’s Alexios hand written signature, written in imperial purple of course! You can see it for yourself here: www.google.com/culturalinstitu…; . It’s amazing!
Taka masywna twierdza... Wygląda bezpiecznie nawet w bieżących czasach mimo iż nowoczesna broń zagraża wszystkiemu.
Jako osoba przeciętnie religijna nawet nie wiedziałem, że św. Jan wymyślił apokalipsę w jaskini xd
Which monastic Order held the monastery? Presumably they were Greek Orthodox, whose monastic traditions I'm afraid that I know nothing about. I'm okay with Benedictines or Cistercians or Cluniacs, but I'm out of my depth here.
always very interesting to read and see , i think your are one rare deviant who do it!
Did you go to the cave itself?
Yes, now it seems like the white-washed villages are a "symbol" you always see representing the villages when you see those travel brochures or even just a video...it'd be great to see them without the white paint.