Yesterday's visit to Santorini was beautiful, but today's visit to Patmos was truly inspirational. Although smaller than Santorini, Patmos has been designated a Holy Site by the Vatican and a world historical site by UNESCO. All of this is due to the fact that the Disciple John was banished from Ephesus and imprisioned here for 18 months near the end of his life. During that time, John received the visions which became letters to the 7 churches of Asia Minor and later became the Book of Revelation.
Today we visited the Grotto of the Revelation, a cave on the top of a beautiful hillside where John received those visions. Although once open to the sea, the cave now has a beautiful Greek Orthodox church added to it, so we were not allowed to take any inside photos. We did see the small ledge carved into the wall of the cave where John's head rested when he slept and the carved hole in the wall which he used to lift himself up. We also saw the ledge which he used as his desk when writing (on sometimes dictating) the letters. History for most Americans goes back only a few years. However,
to actually be standing in the same place where God spoke to John 2000 years ago was very, very moving.
Although there are only 4000 permanent residents on Patmos, they are all Greek Orthodox - which explains why there are 410 Greek Orthodox churches throughout the island. Some are very small and are used on on special celebration days. Others, like the magnificent Basilica of St. John are large and filled with beautiful icons and relics. The people of this island are very religious and you can feel it wherever you go.
We also drove around the island and saw some exquisite views of the Agean Sea. All of the buildings here are white and the contrast with the deep blue of the water is quite beautiful.
Bowen and I enjoyed Santorini but we were touched by our visit to Patmos today and feel very blessed to have had this opportunity.
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