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The Monastery Of St. John The Divine On Patmos
cwo3ward @ 11/ 21/ 2009

We visited the Cave of the Apocalypse first, before being taken by bus to the town of Chora. We walked up some steep streets and enjoyed the fabulous view. There was a light rain falling, but it was still warm out. The streets were a series of steep switch-backs and eventually we made our way to the entrance of the Monastery of St. John the Divine.

 

We were told by our guide that the Monastery was built by a man dedicated to St. John and his writings and teachings. Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos gave the island of Patmos to the soldier-priest John Christodoulos. John Christodoulos was a Greek Orthodox priest who was determined to establish a monastery on Patmos. He considered this area to be sacred, holy ground. A monastery was started about 1088 AD. It took three years to complete the main part of the monastery. Over the years, more building was completed. The manastery was built like a fort or castle, with thick walls and heavy exterior doors. There were threats from pirates and the Seljuk Turks. The people were able to go to the monastery for protection when they needed to.

 

Once we got inside the monastery walls, we found a courtyard and various buildings where the monks went about their daily lives. There was a very small Greek Orthodox church inside. It has frescoes on it's walls around the entry doors that date to the 11th century. Some of the frescoes are scratched and fading, but our guide did a good job of explaining what they were about and the story they told. Once in the church, there was no photography allowed. I couldn't even use a video camera. To respect their wishes, I refrained from taking any pictures. However, I found some YouTube video and it's available below for viewing. After a walk through the church with our guide (which was very ornate and had a lot of gold and silver articles in it), we were taken to the monastery museum to see the old books, stone carvings and sculptures there. The museum also had a lot of gold crucifixes on display and gold boxes and other religious articles that were beyond description. Again, photography was prohibited, so I don't have any pictures to share.

 

At the conclusion of the tour, we made our way back to the bus. The streets were slick and there was a steady mist as we headed back down the hill. We enjoyed seeing the monastery, as it is tucked away on Patmos, a small Greek Island that isolated from mainland Greece and best reached by ferryboat. UNESCO has declared the monastery a World Heritage site. It is built on a spot venerated by both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as the cave where St. John the Apostle had visions.

What were the WOW moments you experienced?
After going to the Cave of the Apocalypse, the next logical place was the monastery. We really enjoyed the small church, which was just crammed full of very old religious frescoes, paintings and gold and silver religious articles. This is a place that most people will never see. It was worth the trip to see such an old and important religious site.
Greece, Chora, The Monastery of St. John the Divine
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