International Workshop
Power and Timing Modeling, Optimization and Simulation
October 6-8, Kos Island, Greece


Patmos, where St. John the Divine received his Revelation, is the northernmost of the Dodecanese. Though its area is only 39 sq. km, a most irregular shape gives the island a long coastline with many little bays. Its three sections are joined by two narrow isthmuses, of which that nearest the centre forms the focal point of the island. Here was the ancient city, here is the modern port, Skala, dominated from the S by Patmos Town and its fortified monastic crag. The rocky and volcanic soil is moderately hilly, rising to 270m. The climate is healthy, but the arid soil yields only a small quantity of cereals, vegetables, and wine, not sufficient for the needs of the 2500 inhabitants. Sponge-fishing used to be the main occupation but is now defunct. The water is brackish.

Skala, the present harbour of the island of Patmos, as seen from Khora

History: Patmos receives passing mention by Thucydides, Strabo, and Pliny. The first inhabitants were Mycenaeans, then Dorians who later received Ionian colonists. The Romans made it a place of exile for political prisoners. Here, in AD 95, during the reign of Domitian was banished St. John the Divine, by tradition identified with the Apostle John, though the identification has been disputed. For centuries the island was deserted owing to incursions of Saracen pirates. In 1088 the blessed Christodoulos, a Bithynian abbot, obtained permission from Alexis I Comnenus to found a monastery at Patmos in honour of St. John. The island was captured by the Venetians in 1207. In 1461 Pope Pius II took both island and monastery under his protection. The Turks captured Patmos in 1537, and exacted from the monks an annual tribute. In 1669 the island received Venetian refugees from Candia (Crete).

The Monastery of St. John the Theologian towering above Khora

Landing is made at Skala (Hotels B, C, D; F/A), the commercial centre (ca 1500 inhab.) of the island, situated in a sheltered bay that opens to the E. The animated Plateia, with arcaded buildings in the Italian colonial style, opens directly from the quay. Near by on the shore is a pleasant church with twin domes. A motor-road (2km; taxis) has all but superseded the ancient paved mule-path (20 minutes) to Patmos Town. On the ascent there are fine views of the surrounding islands and rocks. Halfway up are the new buildings of the Theological College, founded in 1669 and attended by students from all Greece, and the Convent of the Apocalypse, a cell of the monastery. Here are three small churches, and the Cave of St. Anne, where by tradition St. John dictated the Revelation to his disciple Prochoros.

The church of St. Anne built in the 11th century by the Blessed Christodoulos at the northern opening of the holy cave of the Apocalypse

Patmos, or Khora (ca 1000 inhab.), has pleasant 16-17C houses spread round the foot of the monastery, 152m above the sea. The fortified Monastery ot St. Jobn, founded in 1088 by the Blessed Christodoulos, has the appearance of a great polygonal castle with towers and battlements. It is visited by the faithful on May 8 and September 26, the saint's day and celebrates Easter week with some pomp. To the left, as we enter by the fortified gate, is the tomb of Gregory of Kos, Bp of Dhidhimotikon (d. 1693). The Entrance Court, built in 1698, is attractive. Its E side forms the exonarthex of the church, which incorporates elements from an earlier chapel and perhaps from a Temple of Artemis. Between the arches hangs a huge wooden simantron.
We enter the Church by the right-hand door, which admits to the Founder's Chapel; his marble sarcophagus is surmounted by a reliquary covered with repousse scenes in silver-gilt (1796). We pass into the Narthex by a low doorway having an ancient lintel and a medieval door, and thence into the church proper, a Greek cross-in-square. The floor, of grey and white marble, dates back to the foundation. The Ikonostasis (1820) is heavy and ornate, and some of the furniture has inlaid work in a Saracen style. Above the door of the Outer Treasury is an ikon on a gold ground, signed by Emmanuel Tzanes (1674). The 12C Chapel of the Theotokos, to the S, contains near-contemporary Frescoes, brought to light in 1958, when later paintings were stripped away. Behind the altar, the Holy Trinity, represented as three angels being given hospitality by Abraham; below, the Virgin, flanked by the archangels, Michael and Gabriel, wearing Byzantine imperial robes.

The church of St. Joseph at the spiritual retreat Kouvari

Leaving by the S door, we find ourselves in the Inner Courtyard from which opens the Refectory, a modified 11C edifice equipped with long stone tables. The walls have remains of late 12C frescoes, executed in two phases. They represent scenes of Christ's Passion, his miracles, an illustration of Psalm 102, etc. A stair leads up to the Library (c 2000 printed books) in which are displayed a selection from the collection of 890 MSS. The greatest treasure, since the 9C Plato codex was removed in 1803 (now in Oxford), is 33 leaves of the Codex Porphyrius, comprising most ot St.Mark's gospel. The greater part of the book (182 ff) is in Saint Petersburg. It was written in the early 6C on purple vellum, in uncials of silver and the holy names in gold. Important textually also are an 8C Book of Job, with commentaries drawn from 19 scholars; and the Discourses of St. Gregory, written in 941 in Calabria. This is one of the works listed in 1201 in a surviving Catalogue of the Library. Some exquisite illumination in the Byzantine tradition can be seen in various Gospels and Cartularies (12-14C). Also displayed are charters and deeds from the Monastic Archives (13,000 documents), including the foundation chrysobul of Alexis Comnenus.

Livadi Kaloghiron, the spiritual retreat of the Meadow of the Monks

The treasury, the most important monastic collection in Greece outside Mt Athos, contains embroidered stoles (15-18C); ikons, notably a miniature mosaic framed in sflver of St. Nicholas (11C) and a celebrated St. Theodore (13C); church fumiture, including a handsome chalice of 1679, a superb crozier (1677) with gold refief decoration and pale blue enamel work, omamented with diamonds; benediction crosses in wooden filigree; pendant model ships (16C) in enamelled silver set with precious stones, worn by the wives of rich ship-owners. The windows command a fine view of Skala and the W roof terrace the finest Panorama of the greater part of the Aegean.
Some vestiges of Ancient Pafmos crown the hill Kastelli behind Skala to the NW. Launches depart at frequent intervals in July - August for various beaches of which Grikou (Hotels B, D; F/A) lies to the SE; Kambos (taverna) to the NE (25 minutes); and Lampi, bright with coloured stones on the N coast. Arkoi, to the NE of Patmos and N of Lipsoi, is a dependent islet with under 68 inhabitants.

The "kathisma" of Apollon

Go to the Monastery of St. John

More links about Patmos: