Tag Archives: Panorama

Patmos: The Monastery of Saint John

PatmosMapPatmos is a Greek island in the Dodecanese group, located about 40 mi. [65 km.] west of the western coast of Turkey.

It was here that John was exiled received the revelation that he wrote about in the New Testament book of Revelation (Rev 1:9).  Tradition maintains that he was exiled to Patmos during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81–96).  He was eventually released and returned to Ephesus—located about 60 mi. [100 km.] to the northeast of Patmos.

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View looking north at the Island of Patmos from Mt. Saint Elijah—the highest point on the Island of Patmos (2,900 ft.). The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the village of Chora are in the center of the image. Double Click on Image to View and/or Download the full size Panorama.

Notice that the island is not very wide and visible on both the right (east) and left (west) side of the image a variety of near-by islands are visible—providing a “geographical context” for the Island of Patmos.

Patmos is shaped somewhat like the letter “C”—open to the east.  It is composed of three parts connected by two isthmuses.  The larger northern part is connected to the central (main) part by a narrow isthmus.  The island is about 7 mi. [11 km.] long, and up to 3 mi. [5 km.] wide.  It is 13 sq. mi. [34 sq. km] in area and has a population of about 2,750 persons.

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The Monastery of St. John the Theologian

The most famous structure on the Island of Patmos is the Monastery of St. John the Theologian.  It was built in A.D. 1091 by the “Holy” Christodoulos who had received permission from the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I to build it.  This fortress–like monastery is situated on a prominent hill about 1.5 mi. [2.4 km.] inland from the port of Skala at an elevation of about 790 ft. [240 m.].  This is one of two places that “day visitors” visit during their brief stop at Patmos.

Click Here to view 13additional images of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian.

This past May we had the opportunity to explore some of the remote portions of the island and I will be sharing some pictures from that visit in future posts.

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Magdala: Home of Mary Magdalene — Chapel

During several visits over the past few years I have been excited to see the archaeological work on the synagogue, market, dwellings, and harbor of Magdala—home of Mary Magdalene on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

This past June we visited the site under the leadership of one of the Magdala guides and although we were pressed for time, she urged us to visit the Chapel at Magdala.  I am so glad that we did!

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View looking north northwest at the entrance to the chapel called “Duc in Altum.”

This chapel is called Doc in Altum that is Latin for the words of Jesus addressed to Peter as recorded in Luke 5:4 where, after preaching from his boat, Jesus tells Peter to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” After a large catch Peter and his partners left all behind to follow Jesus—to become “fishers of men” (5:10).   The chapel is a call for present day followers of Jesus to become “fishers of men.”

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View looking east at the “Women’s Atrium” of Duc in Altum.

As we entered the atrium we were informed that it is dedicated to the women who followed and supported Jesus (Luke 8)—especially Mary Magdalene.  On seven of the eight columns the names of women mentioned in the Gospels are engraved.  The eighth column is not inscribed and represents women of faith through the ages.  Here our guide encouraged women in the group to pray at the eighth column.  A number of them, especially those who had experience trauma as women, did in fact do that—and later shared that this was a very moving and important experience for them.

From the Atrium of the Women, we moved east into the Chapel of the Boat.

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View looking east at the “Boat Chapel.” To view details on this Panorama you are invited to Double Click on the Image.

This chapel commemorates Jesus preaching from the boat of Simon Peter (Luke 5:1-11).  The chapel seats 300 and along the sides of the chapel are pictures of the 12 male disciples of Jesus.

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View looking east at the boat altar in the “Boat Chapel.”

The altar’s design is based upon the 1st century boat that was excavated in 1986 along the shoreline near the chapel.  The altar is made out of cedar wood.  The “tabernacle,” that contains the elements for the Eucharist, to the right of the mast, was blessed by Pope Francis on May 26, 2014 during his pastoral pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The glassy floor, the reflecting pool behind the window, and the Sea of Galilee itself give the impression of the boat resting on the sea.


As usual, I was very impressed with the antiquities at Magdala, BUT I am so glad that we set aside time to visit this chapel to experience the symbolism and testimony that the Legionaries of Christ are sharing with the world–at–large!  If you visit the site, please budget 90 minutes for a complete visit—it will be very worthwhile!

Additional information can be found at the Official Magdala Web Site.

Cana to Capernaum Route

On a number of occasions Jesus and His followers travelled from Cana of Galilee to Capernaum via an important road that connected the port of Ptolemais to Cana (17 mi.), Cana to Kh. Umm el-Amud (6 mi.), Kh. Umm el-Amud to Magdala (6 mi.) and from there northeast to Capernaum (6 mi.).  John 2:11-12 “… signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee … He went down to Capernaum.”

A Portion of the Cana to Capernaum Route Near Kh. Umm el–Amud — Click on image to enlarge

This view is looking due north from Kh. Umm el–Amud.  On the left (west) side of the image, in the bright haze, is the Bet Netofa Valley where Cana of Galilee is located.  The watershed ridge is visible just left of the center of the image—to the left of the olive grove.  The Bet Netofa Valley drains to the west (to the left) while to the right of the olive grove the drainage is east (right) down to the Sea of Galilee to Magdala and the Plain of Genneserat

This image illustrates well this road as it comes—from west to east (left to right) from the Bet Netofa Valley, over the ridge by the olive grove, and begins its descent (east) through the brown fields and green groves to the Sea of Galilee.  It may have been here, in the vicinity of Kh. Umm el–Amud—along this road—that the “royal official”—who was traveling from Cana to Capernaum—received word that his son had been healed (John 4:46–54).

For more information on this route and Kh. Umm el-Amud—including the synagogue and lion relief—Click Here.