Patmos (Revelation 1)

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Only 40 km in circumference, Patmos is a small island off the coast of Asia Minor, approximately 58 km southwest of Miletus. It has a bare, mountainous terrain, with Mount Elias, at 800 feet (243 m), as its highest point. Patmos served as a place of banishment during the Roman period. Tradition holds that the apostle John, by that time an old man, was exiled to Patmos during the fourteenth year of the reign of emperor Domitian (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.18-20). Since it was on this isle that he received his revelation (Revelation 1:9-10), Patmos has been held in awe by many Christians from the Roman period to the present. In 1088 Saint John’s Cloister was constructed by Saint Christodoulos upon the site of John’s Grotto. Today a great Byzantine library there holds the work produced by the numerous monasteries and churches that have existed on Patmos over the centuries. The island has changed political hands several times over time; since 1947 it has belonged to Greece.


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