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My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Dodecanese > Patmos > gallery
Patmos, greece Patmos gallery 22 of 27

Mosaic of Saint John the Theologian and Osios Christodoulos in the main courtyard of the Monastery of Saint John, Patmos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Mosaic of Saint John the Theologian being presented with the monastery by its founder Christodoulos.

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian

(Η Μονή του Αγίου Ιωάννου του Θεολόγου)

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian was founded in 1088 by Christodoulos (Greek, Ο Όσιος Χριστόδουλος, the Blessed Christodoulos; the name means "Servant of Christ"), also known as the Blessed Christodoulos Latrinos of Patmos, an abbot from Nicaea in Bithynia (today İznik, northwestern Turkey), who is thought to have lived around 1020-1093 AD.

Christodoulos gained the permission and support for building the monastery directly from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (Ἀλέξιος Αʹ Κομνηνός, 1048 or 1056-1118; ruled 1081-1118). A golden bull (chrysobull) in the form of a long scroll containing the written permission and foundation deed, signed and sealed in gold by the emperor, is kept in the monastery treasury (see below).

The site, on a 500 metre high hill more or less in the centre of the island, was formerly occupied by a church which had been built in the 4th century over the remains of a temple and sanctuary of the Greek goddess Artemis, the patron deity of the Patmos in antiquity. An inscription kept at the monastery, dated to the second century AD, refers to Vera, a priestess of Artemis Scythia and her temple, and calls Patmos "the most august island of the daughter of Leto" (Artemis and Apollo were the twin children of Zeus and Leto). Two large marble slabs from the temple are used as tables for the monk's refectory.

Over the centuries further building continued at the monastery, including the construction of ten chapels, apparently made necessary by a law which forbade mass being held in a chapel more than once a day. The Chapel of Christodoulos, on the right of the main courtyard, contains his tomb and a silver reliquary.

The strong walls of the fortress-like monastery were built 15 metres high as protection against pirates and other invaders.

There are several icons and frescoes of saints and holy scenes around the monastery, but its most-prized objects are displayed in the treasury. The museum-like section contains a collection of precious jewels, 300 pieces of silverware and 200 icons.

The library (not open to the public) contains around 1,200 handwritten codices, 13,000 documents and 4,500 archetypes and incunabula. One of the most precious books is the 6th century "Purple Codex", 33 purple parchment leaves with extracts from the Gospel of Saint Mark written in silver.

The monastery also has a workshop for the conservation and repair of its treasures.

Opening hours

Summer (April - October): Every day 8 am - 1.30 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday also 4 - 6 pm

Winter (November to March): Every day 8 am - 1 pm

Closed on the first three days of Lent.

Admission FREE

Admission to the Treasury 6 Euros [1]

(Same opening times as the Monastery and Cave of the Apocalypse.)

Tel: +30 22470 20800, 31223

Fax: +30 22470 34098


website: (Greek only)

Osios Christodoulos holding an inscribed scroll, Patmos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Christodoulos' scroll

See another mosaic
of Saint John at the Monastery and Cave
of the Apocalypse
on gallery page 10.

Other photos
of mosaics on
My Favourite Planet
(see below).

Mosaic of Saint John the Theologian and Christodoulos, Patmos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Saint John the Theologian and Christodoulos, the founder of the Monastery of Saint John on Patmos.
Patmos Notes, references and links

1. Admission charges

According to the official website of the Greek Ministry of Culture, admission costs 2 Euros and is "valid for the monastery and the Treasury as well". As with other data on their website, there is no indication of how old this information is, and it seems unlikely to be up-to-date.


The monastery's own website, which includes much interesting information about the history and organization of the holy places on Patmos, is in Greek only and does not mention admission charges. Unfortunately, attempts to translate this website using online translation applications such as Google Chrome can lead to some unexpected results. "τό μικρό ἀλλά περιώνυμο νησί τῆς Πάτμου", for example, is translated as "the tiny but notorious island of Patmos".

Other sources state that admission to the treasury now costs 8 Euros, but we have not yet been able to confirm this. If you have any further up-to-date information, please get in contact.

The odysseus culture website adds the following information:

Free admission days:
- 27 September, International Tourism Day;
- Sundays in the period between 1 November and 31 March.

Reduced admission for:
- Persons possessing a free admission card;
- The accompanying parents on educational visits of elementary schools;
- The escorting teachers of schools and institutions of elementary, middle school, high school, university and graduate level education during their visits;

Free admission for:
- Greek citizens and citizens of other member states of the European Union aged over 65 years old by showing their ID card or passport;
- Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card;
- Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS;
- Persons accompanying blind and disabled;
- Students of Higher Education Institutes and equivalent Schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID;
- The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities;
- University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools of member states of the European Union and students at Schools of Tourist Guides, by showing their student ID;
- Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age.
More photos and information about mosaics
on My Favourite Planet

Hellenistic mosaics in Pella, Macedonia, Greece

A mosaic of Dionysos and "Sleeping Ariadne" from Ephesus,
now in the Izmir Archaeological Museum, Turkey:
Selcuk photo gallery 2

The "Alexander Mosaic" from Pompeii, depicting
Alexander the Great in battle with King Darius III:
Alexander the Great
in our People section

A Hellenistic mosaic, signed by Hephaistion, from Pergamon,
now in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany:
Pergamon photo gallery 2

Ancient mosaics depicting the Gorgon Medusa

Mosaics from Pompeii signed by Dioskourides of Samos

Mosaics at Dion Archaeological Site, Macedonia, Greece:
Dion: garden of the Gods
at the Cheshire Cat Blog

Choklakia pebble mosaics on Kastellorizo island, Greece:
Kastellorizo photo gallery

Modern mosaic commemorating Saint Paul
the Apostle's visit to Veria, Macedonia, Greece:
Veria photo gallery

See also a mosaic mural made by the author of this guide:
Maps, photos and articles: © David John,
except where otherwise specified.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Patmos
originally appeared in 2004 on

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
project or publication, please get in contact.

Higher resolution versions are available on request.

My Favourite Planet makes great efforts to provide comprehensive and accurate information across this website. However, we can take no responsibility for inaccuracies or changes made by providers of services mentioned on these pages.
See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays and articles
about Greece:

Athens 1

Athens 2






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