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The Rich Religious History of Patmos

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Patmos, Greece is a tiny island with a big history. It’s a popular Christian pilgrimage because of its claim to fame, John the Apostle, who wrote the book of Revelation while he was exiled to Patmos. It also has its own origin story in Greek mythology. If you walk through Patmos, you’ll notice the way the streets and some of the architecture feels like taking a walk into the past, because Patmos is so connected to its past. Few places have better reason to be. Here are some of the myths, legends, and religious history that made Patmos what it is today.


The beautiful shore view of the twin beaches of Patmos, Greece


The Creation of Patmos According to Greek Mythology

According to Greek mythology, the island of Patmos was once named the island of Litois, after Artemis, sometimes referred to as Litoida, the goddess of the hunt. Artemis often traveled to Caria, the nearby mainland, to visit her shrine at Mount Latmos and meet with the moon goddess Selene. When Selene cast moonlight over the ocean, they could see the sunken island of Patmos beneath the surface.

Artemis, with the help of her twin brother Appolo, convinced Zeus to bring the island to the surface. He did, and presented Patmos as a gift to Artemis. It’s believed that Patmos was once a place filled primarily wish the worship of Artemis. Some believe that the Monastery of St. John was built over her own temple.


The Monastery of St. John

The Revelation of St. John

The most popular tourist spots on Patmos are undoubtedly the Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse. John the Apostle was exiled for a time to the isle of Patmos, where he slept in a cave. Supposedly through a crack in that cave, he received a vision from God about the end times. He wrote this vision down and it came to be the final book of the Christian Bible – the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Tourists can visit the Cave of the Apocalypse and see mosaics on the wall portraying the visions John saw. They can see the rock that he used as a pillow at night when he slept. They can even see the crack through the rocks where he received his revelation. Christians travel from all over the world to Patmos to see this cave.


Psili Ammos Beach in Patmos, Greece

Legends of Patmos, Greece

Patmos also features in the story of Orestes. After killing his mother, Clytemnestra, Orestes was pursued by the Erinyes and fled briefly to Patmos. While there, he built a temple to Artemis.

A legend also surrounds Petra Kallikatsou. The story goes that a young girl was forbidden by her mother to go swimming because she had just taken communion. Tempted by the beauty of the Aegean Sea, she insisted and her mother told her, “Touch the water and you will become stone.” The girl went anyway, and as soon as she touched the water, she turned to stone. The name Kallikatsou is similar to the word locals use to refer to a sea crow.
If you choose to come to Patmos to be witness to its wealth of history (both true and invented), you will have several options of Patmos, Greece hotels for accommodation. But Chris Hotel can guarantee you quality service and exceptional deals. Chris Hotel has room views facing the sea, the mountains, or their gardens. It’s located in Skala, the main port of the island, conveniently located to the best shops and grocery stores. It’s also an easy distance from the most popular tourist locations. Contact Chris Hotel today to book your stay in Patmos.


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