The Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos island
The Cave of the Apocalypse: Old island traditions and historical
documents define the cave of the Apocalypse as the place where Saint
John the Divine wrote the "Apocalypse" and that is why it is
regarded as the most important sacred location on the island.
The Apocalypse Cave is currently surrounded by the major monastic
complex of the Apocalypse monastery, which stands out in its local
white color. A few steps carved on the rock lead visitors to the
simple gate to the monastery. The cells, the flower-laden yards, the
chapels built on different levels, their carved almost cylindrical
domes, convey a sense of pleasant and somehow intriguing atmosphere
because of the buildings' arrangement. The Sacred Cave lies in the
lowest level of this complex.
Getting down the stairs leading to the sacred Cave we come across
the chapels of Saint Nicholas, Saint Artemios and, last but not
least, Saint Anna's chapel built right in front of the Cave to one
side. The Sacred Cave seems to be part of Saint Anna's chapel but in
effect it constitutes a church on its own, dedicated to saint John
the Divine. You will always find a monk there, ever willing to show
around anyone who wishes to see the Cave, which is approximately 4
meters deep. At a certain point in the cave the monk will show you
the Cross engraved on the rock by Saint John the Evangelist himself,
according to Church Tradition. He will also show you a triple
fissure through which John could hear the voice telling him to write
the "Apocalypse" and the place where he lay down to sleep.
Apart from the afore-mentioned sources the precise location of the
cave was also defined based on the old manuscripts relating that
John lived somewhere between Scala and Chora. As Saint John the
Evangelist himself said, he wrote the "Apocalypse" on the isle of
Patmos, in conjunction with several other ecclesiastical authors
such as Clementas of Alexandria, Origenis, Irinios, Eusebios and
The "Apocalypse" is one of the most important texts of
eschatological literature. The first structure of the building
complex, which is Saint Anna's chapel, was built by Saint
Christodoulos in the year 1088 as tradition has it. In early 17th
century Gregory, the bishop of Caesaria founded and built the
monastery. Around 1800 the founder of the School of Patmos Makarios
Kalogeras annexed the first buildings and added new ones. Thanks to
the love and the care of the monks the entirety of the buildings is
still in excellent condition after so many years.
In the year 2001 the Speleological Society of the Dodecanese
discovered a precipice-like cave in the area of Genoupas. The cave
has not been fully explored yet but it is nevertheless of major
geological interest because of its great depth and the singularity
of its caverns.
There is also a cave on the islet of Arkii opulently decorated with
stalactites and stalagmites (not open to visitors).