John on the Island of Patmos

John wrote the letter of Revelation from the island of Patmos (Rev 1:9). The island of Patmos is about 60 miles from the ancient city of Ephesus. Both are visible on this Google Earth image.

The island of Patmos covers about 13 square miles and is home to a couple of modern villages. The two largest are Skala and Chora.

Satellite view of Patmos

Already by the 3rd century BC the island had an acropolis with defensive walls and towers.

Little else is known about John’s stay on Patmos. Tradition holds that John was banished to Patmos by the Roman authorities. This likely happened during the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96). The 4th century writer Eusebius stated that Jews and Christians were heavily persecuted by Domitian.

One of the more interesting places to visit on Patmos is the Monastery of Saint John. This fortified structure was built in the 11th century by the soldier-priest John Christodoulos (“John the servant of Christ”). Today 330 manuscripts are housed in the library (267 on parchment), including 82 valuable manuscripts of the New Testament.

Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on Patmos

Interior of the Monastery of Saint John

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