Patmos Saint John Monastery

Bell tower of Saint John Monastery in Patmos island, Greece

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is the most famous sightseeing in Patmos and an important religious place for Christians. Also called the Monastery of Saint John the Divine, it is a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 1088 on the highest spot of Chora, the capital of Patmos island.

The first thing to notice in Patmos is this monastery that crowns the highest spot of Chora and reminds of a Byzantine Castle. Founded by Osios Christodoulos, a soldier-priest to whom the Byzantine emperior Alexios Comnenus I donated the entire island, the fortifications around the monastery used to protect it from attacks of pirates or Ottomans.

The height of the monastery is more than 15 meters. The central gate is found on the northern side. There was another gate at the southern side, but today it is closed. The monastery was constructed in different phases through centuries. Churches and frescoes (wall paintings) from various eras can actually be seen inside the Monastery of Saint John in Patmos island, Greece.

The central church (katholikon) was constructed in 1909 and has interesting 17th century frescoes that represent the miracles of Saint John the Theologian. The Monastery has 10 churches in total, including churches dedicated to Osios Christodoulos, Saint Nicolas, Saint George, Virgin Mary, the Holy Saints and more. The relics of Osios Christodoulos, the founder of the Monastery, are kept in the church dedicated to him.

The Monastery of Saint John in Patmos hosts a Byzantine Museum with a large collection of handmade icons, valuable manuscripts from the Byzantine times, ecclesiastical clothes and more. It also has a rich library with 900 manuscripts, 13,000 documents dating from before 1073 and 3,000 printed books.

The Monastery celebrates on May 8th, while the Easter celebrations in Patmos island are also very glorious. It can be accessed by bus from Skala, the port of the island. After a visit to the Monastery, visitors can walk the old path until the Cave of Apocalypse (about 15 min by foot).