Called Jerusalem of the Aegean, Patmos is the island of ascetic austerity. It is made of rock and bays and surrounded by seagull-islands. Here in a cave St John wrote the Apocalypse -- one of the most beautiful texts ever written. The whole island is suggestively dominated by the monastery, dedicated to the memory of St John and encircled by medieval ramparts.
Boats anchor at the port, Scala, with its whitewashed houses and narrow lanes. Then we shall go up the asphalt road to reach Chora. Here we see the most beautiful houses in the whole island. Fronts with vaulted entrances. Windows with images. Inside there are wooden partitions, carved and decorated with flowers and birds. From the windows one sees white terraces and endless orange groves. Mansions, simple village houses, Byzantine churches, all climb up to the Holy Monastery of the Theologian on the top of the hill. This castle of God, built in the 11th century, contains priceless religious relics, rare manuscripts, icons, jewellery and embroidery.
Of particular interest are the murals and wonderful temple of the church within the monastery, as well as the murals in the chapel of the Madonna, dated c. 1210-1220.
In the Treasury there are Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, jewellery, relics of great value, the mitre of Patriarch Neophytos VI ornamented with diamonds, chalices, 9th-century embroidery, emperors' offerings to the monastery, manuscripts and rare editions. The Library houses parchments, patriarchs' sigils, rare manuscripts and books.
Divine service in the monastery produces feelings of great devotion, as does the monks' representation of the Lord's Supper. There are two more notable monasteries on the island, of the Apellos Madonna and the Geranos Madonna respectively.
On the 15th of August, Feast of Virgin Mary, there is a mass in the morning (in Chora) while in the afternoon visitors can enjoy open-air festivities on the plain, including folk dances accompanied by local music and delicious food. Tradio tional sweets offered include "con-fits" and "diples".
Patmos has marvelous beaches: Psili Ammos, Petra, Grigos, Meloi (there is a camping there), Notia, Diakofti, Agios Theologos, as well as at the end of the Kampos (plain) -- accessible by motor-boat or ship from Scala.
Sailing round the island, among the tiny seagull-isles, is a wonderful experience.
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Patmos is linked by boat to Piraeus (distance:163 n.m.) and to the rest of the Dodecanese. From Patmos it is easy to visit Leros and the nearby small islands of Fourni and Lipsi. Patmos is a port of entry and exit. Port, customs and sanitary authorities are here, as is ayacht refuelling station (at Scala).
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