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The '''Patriarchal Exarchate of Patmos''' consists of the entire
'''Island of Patmos ''' (Greek: ''Πάτμος''), '''Leipso, Agathonesion and Arkioi ''' and its constituent monasteries and churches , belonging to the [[Church of Constantinople]] under the Venerable Patriarchal and Synodical Act and Statute 1155/81. Patmos island is also referred to as the '''Jerusalem of the Aegean Sea ''', since it is the island of ascetic austerity. The Patriarchal Exarch and Abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian is His Grace Archimandrite [[Andipas (Nikitaras) of Patmos|Andipas Nikitaras]].
== History ==
Patmos is the northernmost island of the Dodecanese and is populated with [[church]]es and communities of Orthodox Christians. During the period of Roman rule, the island fell into a decline
and the population decreased and the island became a place for banishing criminals or political and religious troublemakers.
In 95 AD, St. [[John the Theologian]] was sent into exile on the island as a religious ''troublemaker''. He remained on the island for eighteen months during which he lived in a cave below a known temple, at the time, dedicated to Diana. In this cave, he narrated a vision he was having of [[Jesus]] that is the [[Book of Revelation]] which describes the details of the [[Apocalypse]] but is more a description about the "the Church" - ''outside of time''. Revelation was also written as an exhortation to the Christian believers to stay true to their faith during the persecutions near the end of the first century.<ref>P. N. Tarazi, ''The New Testament - Introduction, Vol. 3 - Johannine Writings'', St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-88141-264-3</ref>
In 313 AD, Christianity was recognised by the Roman Empire and this also spread to the Dodecanesse. The empire of the Byzantium exercised control of Patmos and the other islands and by the 4th century the temple to Diana had been removed. Directly over this temple a church dedicated to St. John the Theologian was built but this was destroyed later between the 6th and 9th centuries during a series of raids by various Arab groups.
The island remained deserted until 1088, when the Emperor granted Patmos to the monk Christodoulos. His intention was to establish a monastery and build this monastery over the remains of the little church built over the remains of a temple dedicated to Diana. The monastery
, has since been in continuous operation for over 900 years.
During the 11th and 12th centuries, the island of Patmos was also subject to raids by
the Saracen and Norman pirates, which were the catalyst for the fortified walls surrounding the monastery giving it the modern day castle-like appearance. The small town (Chora) within the "castle" was probably established during the middle of the 17th century and has a labyrinth style street arrangement. <ref> Labyrinth style street designs are common on the islands purposely arranged to create a sence of confusion to pirates or threats intent on raiding the towns. </ref>
During the Turco-Italian War of 1912, Patmos was captured and controlled by the Italians. The island remained under their control until the end of World War II, when it was returned to Greece.
To the church, this is the only location in Europe that God has walked making it the most sacred destination in Europe, followed by Mount Athos.
== See also ==
Patmos and the Monastery of St. John the Theologian ===
''See Main Article: [[Monastery of St. John the Theologian (Patmos, Greece)]]''
Image:PatmosRamp.JPG|Monastery of the Apocalypse - Outside the CaveImage:Patmos.JPG|Monastery of the Apocalypse - Inside the CaveImage:PatmosV.JPG|Monastery of the Apocalypse - View of Patmos from inside the Cave
=== Caves of Kynops and Sykamia ===
=== Monastery of the Annunciation ===
''See Main article [[Monastery of the Annunciation (Patmos)|Monastery of the Annunciation]]''
=== List of Churches and Monasteries ===
**Parish of the Great Panagia
=== Saints and Monastics ===