A small volcanic island in the Ægean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor, to the south of Samos and west of Miletus, in lat. 37° 20' N. and long. 26° 35' E. Its length is about ten miles, its breadth six miles, and its coast line thirty seven miles. The highest point is Hagios Elias (Mt. St. Elias) rising to over 1050 feet. The island was formerly covered with luxuriant palm groves, which won it the name of Palmosa ; of these groves there remains but a clump in the valley called "The Saint's Garden". The ancient capital occupied the northern (Ruvali) isthmus. The modern town of Patmos lies in the middle part of the island. Above it towers the battlements of St. John's Monastery, founded in 1088 by St. Christobulus. The Island of Patmos is famous in history as the place of St. John's exile: "I, John . . . was in the island, which is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus " ( Revelation 1:9 ); there according to general belief the Beloved Disciple wrote the Apocalypse, the imagery of which was in part inspired by the scenery of the island. The spot where St. John was favoured with his revelations is pointed out as a cave on the slope of the hill, half way between the shore and the modern town of Patmos.
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