Patmos was mentioned only on rare occasions in
Greek history by ancient Greek authors in
their works. The Carians are supposed to have been its prehistoric
inhabitants. The name of the island "Patmos" believed to be related to
Latmos, which is mountain's name at the area of Ancient Karia, a land in
Asia Minor, where the goddess Artemis was particularly worshipped.
In the year 1088 AD Saint Christodoulos Latrinos, born in Nikaea of Vithinia, landed on Patmos. He was a renowned founder of monasteries resorting to Patmos after having tried to establish monasteries on the isles of Kos and Leros and falling foul of their inhabitants. The Saint asked the Byzantine emperor Alexios Komninos I to allot him the island, which he had found to be "barren and uninhabited", to found a monastery in honor of John the Evangelist. The emperor signed the concession documents and allotted him the island of Patmos. Together with his companions the saint founded a monastery in Patmos dedicated to Saint John the Divine, which was destined to develop to one of the most brilliant centers of the Orthodox faith in the Aegean Sea.
The island was conquered by the Turks (in the year 1537) after an unconditional surrender. That was the reason why the isle enjoyed certain privileges that its conquerors granted. In the 15th century refugees from Constantinople settled in Patmos while in the 17th century Cretans from Heraklion sought asylum in the monastery. During the dark period of Turkish occupation the monastery of Patmos was a hothouse for educational activities of the highest caliber and it also protected the mortal remains of Greeks. More specifically, the establishment of the "School of Patmos" in the year 1713 turned the island to an important educational center. The patriots Xanthos and Themelis, founding members of the " Society of Friends" whose purpose of existence was to enable Greeks to throw off the shackles of the Turkish yoke, were both glorious children of the isle of Patmos.
The field of shipping had also been developed since Patmos had commercial relations with Europe and Asia Minor and local handicraft products were exported. In the year 1659 the Venetians under Francisco Morosini plundered the entirety of the island with the exception of the monastery. Even though Patmos took active part in the Greek war of independence, it had to remain under Turkish occupation according to the conditions of the Constantinople Treaty (1832) and therefore it was detached from the new western course of the Greek state and its prosperity started to decline. In the year 1912 Patmos, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese was occupied by the Italians.
The isle regained its freedom in the end of World War II. Later, on the 7th of March 1948, it was re-united with Greece.
|2007 travel guides|