History

St John the Divine was banished to Patmos by the pagan Roman Emperor Domitian in AD 95. Living as a hermit in a cave above what’s now Skala, St John heard the voice of God issuing from a cleft in the rock and transcribed his terrifying visions as the Book of Revelation. Around 1000 years later, in 1088, the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I Komninos gave the Blessed Christodoulos permission to erect a monastery in John’s memory. Pirate raids necessitated powerful fortifications, so the monastery took the form of a mighty hilltop castle. In the centuries that followed, Patmos became a semi-autonomous monastic state and achieved such wealth and influence that it was able to resist Turkish oppression.