When I first visited the monastery, I had got up very early in the morning to catch the ferry from Samos to Patmos, then rushed straight from the ferry to explore before everything closed promptly at 1.30 pm (it's amazing how punctual some people can be when they really try). I had not eaten anything all day and was feeling ravenously hungry. No wonder that all I could think of when I saw this chapel is that it looked like a giant cake covered in icing.
Please don't make the same mistake. Patmians may take it amiss if you start taking bites out of their ancient buildings, and drooling is strictly forbidden within the monastery precincts.
Later, looking at other churches and monastic buildings which, for some reason or other, had not been whitewashed, I noticed that many had apparently been built using parts from much more ancient buildings (see for example the Chapel of the Holy Cross on gallery page 25). This has been a normal practice for centuries all over the world, but very noticable in countries such as Greece, Turkey and Italy where obvious bits of antique temple columns, architraves and inscriptions appear in the walls of farmhouses, barns, churches and mosques.
It occured to me that these wily Greek islanders may well have whitewashed their buildings to avoid the scrutiny of nosy archaeologists and architectural historians who may try to tear out marble lintels and window frames and cart them off to museums.
For opening times of the monastery, see gallery page 9.
Read the story of the Book of Revelation on gallery page 10.
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© David John