The warm waters of the Mediterranean coast into the Aegean Sea separating some six thousand islands between Greece and Turkey. Each island is vastly different from the next. Some offering sun and fun escapes, others a place of peace and quiet. In a single weekend I managed to spend a day on three incredibly contrasting islands; Mykonos, Rhodes, and Patmos.
Sunrise through Patmos
Sitting along the beach front of the port town of Skala the sun rises above the islands of Arkoi and Marathos. Peace and tranquility.
I’m looking on at a cafe nearby.
It is Easter Sunday and all the shops and markets are closed. The only life on this tiny island is found in patio tables and chairs that have sprawled out across the road and onto the beach. The canvas umbrellas acting as archways and fold up chairs as pews. A sermon is being delivered. Everyone with a black bible opened chanting as light waves roll back and forth.
Just behind me sits the Monastery of Saint John overlooking Skala.
It seems almost prolific to be spending Easter in such a holy place. So many travelers make the pilgrimage to Patmos. Before this morning I had no idea of the significance this newly Greek Island had on Christianity.
To devote believers, the Book of Revelation represents the allegory of the spiritual path between good and evil. While it could be viewed as an end to the Roman Empire, some see it as a pretext to the end of the world.
It seems so contradictory that this peaceful setting could have been the inspiration to such apocalyptic writing. While on exile, it was in a cave that the vision came to John.
Theologians believe the text to have been written in 95 AD. Nearly a thousand years later Khristodoulos, a devote monk, began work on the Monastery in Hora overlooking Skala. Visitors embarking on their own pilgrimage can still visit the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery with week long celebrations leading up to Easter.
Patmos has hosted more than just Christian pilgrims. With it’s crystal clear waters and isolation it has been a destination to wealthy yachtsmen and backpackers alike. Across the waters a young couple dives into the coral to find there own peace and tranquility.
An unexpected retreat, and a perfect way to end a journey.