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Published: September 28th 2014
If I could do it all over again I would probably have stayed in Syros two days more and Patmos two days less. Now that is not to say that I have not enjoyed my time on this island because I have. It probably has been good for the health of my body and my wallet, but it is just there isn't too much that is obvious to do here. What you have here are a bunch of pleasant walks and calming beaches. Also there is a palpable sense of spirituality and timelessness in the air. This was of course the island where John, the gospel writer, was exiled for many years.
The highlight of my stay here on Patmos was a visit to the Apocalypse Monastery. The monastery has been built up around the cave where St. John heard the voice of God compelling him to write the Book of Revelations. This of course being the book in the bible that dealswith Armageddon and the end of the world. So it was with a certain trepidation that I awoke early that morning. I had forced myself to get up early so that I could beat the crowds and get
a better sense of the place. So after going down to the dining room to polish off another round of yogurt and honey I rushed toward Apocalypse.
The cave and monastery are up the mountainside and if you know where to look you can find a forested Byzantine era path to walk along. As I walked along fearing the almighty I spied a dark figure in the woods coming towards me. A horseman of the apocalypse perhaps? Fortunately for me it turned out to be an orthodox monk traditionally garbed all in black. He eyed me warily and rustled on his way.
After completing the hike up I reached the door to the monastery. It was still ten minuted before opening hours, but the ind man in charge let me in anyway and took me down to the cave itself. There he gave me a rudimentary tour. He pointed out the rock where John laid his on to sleep and the rock he had used as a desk while he stood and wrote down God's revelation. I was particularly interested when he showed me the natural vents in the cave's ceiling where the voice of God had emanated
from almost two thousand years ago. With that he promptly crossed himself and left, leaving me all alone in the cave.
There was a couple of wooden pews, but I sat right down the hard stone floor of the cave. I gazed out at the tranquil view that John would have looked out over, almost Eden like in its simplicity. and the dark cave walls surrounding me. I wondered what it must have been lie for John as all these visions and voices were racing to his mind. I felt a bit uneasy, and was a bit relieved that no 21st century revelation was sent down to Tommy No Papers. After about 15 minutes by myself on that stone floor I left the cave and high tailed it back down the hillside back safe garden hill view room at the Skala Hotel.
Although the spiritual aspect and the wanting to see the Apocalypse Cave were the main reasons I wanted to visit Patmos, it wasn't the only thing that I did here. What I did most every day was to make the twenty minute hike up into the hills and down toward Menois Beach. Past donkeys and primordial
seeming rock formations I would stroll. The beach is tucked into a nook with rocky sides climbing on either side of it. It is fringed with sweet smelling tamarisk trees. In fact this whole island is very pleasantly exotic smelling. There, before and after delicious swims, I would sit and contemplate life and read Henry Miller with the Mediterranean water lapping at my toes getting in touch with the core of reality
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