Located in the southeastern part of Aegean Sea, the small Greek island of Patmos boasts all the elements of what you would expect from an ideal vacation spot: breezy and pristine beaches, plentiful wildlife, magnificent vistas, and historic sites. Patmos welcomes massive numbers of tourists from around the world for these characteristics alone, but its connection to biblical history is perhaps the most intriguing.
Travel along a windy road between the port city of Skala and the monastery in Chora and you will find the sacred Cave of the Apocalypse. According to Christian tradition, this is where John the Apostle, exiled by the Romans for preaching the Gospel, was banished. He is believed to have lived in a small cave within the slope of a deserted hill.
This location is also where he was said to have received the God-inspired visions that would be recorded as the Book of Revelation, around AD 67.
And while the cave has been covered by a small, whitewashed church, it is still considered to be the main attraction of the island. Inside the church, there are two side-altars, the smallest one believed to be the actual physical location of the cave where John slept. The entrance to the cave is marked with a mosaic representing the visions John received. You can listen to a monk offer a retelling of John the Apostle’s account of how he came to Patmos and the subsequent revelatory visions from God. Seven silver lamps indicate where John laid his head when resting, and visitors can also see several clefts in the rock through which the apostle heard the voice of God.
Since 1999, the Cave of the Apocalypse has gained prominence as an historical monument and pilgrimage site. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and continues to attract thousands of visitors each year.