The "island of love," a "unique place for Orthodox Christians,” where St. John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation, an island "with smiling people ready to share everything with you,” and where "people do not lock their front doors or their cars,” the “island that cannot be forgotten”: these are just some of the thoughts shared by those fortunate to visit the sacred island of Patmos.
“Our trip to Patmos was a dream come true,” said Maria and Alexandr, a pair of Russian pilgrims, to the ANA-MPA.
Soon after they arrived at the Patmos port they went straight to the Cave of the Apocalypse to attend mass. “We want to visit all the Holy Places in Greece, the unique country washed in the light of Christianity,” they noted.
Tourist arrivals on the island, one of the most beautiful and distinctive of the Dodecanese Islands in south Aegean Sea, are expected to record a 20 pct increase, according to Mayor Yiannis Saikos.
Viktor, also from Russia, moved to Patmos 15 years ago and now works as a tour guide for the Russian visitors. He said that in Russia he was a historian and his life became truly beautiful after making Patmos his home. “This island brings peace, love and luck to the people. That΄s what all those who have visited the island say,” he underlined.
“Patmos has maintained a low profile because it is a sacred island,” he said and “despite the large numbers of tourists, we do not have mass religious tourism”.
Maria, another tourist, had a serious health problem. “I visited Patmos for the first time three years ago as a pilgrim and the saints of the Christian Orthodox Church embraced me and brought me back to life”. This year, her wish is to find love “because only when we love, we are truly happy”.
Yuri is one of the 300 migrants living and working on the island. He came here from Ukraine 10 years ago and has no plans to go back. “I feel part of the community,” he says with pride.
A victim of the economic crisis, the Patmias School of Patmos, one of the greatest seminaries in Greece, is at risk of being shut down 300 years after it was founded by St. Makarios Kalogeras in 1713.
Its director Efstathios Kottoras says that everything possible will be done to rescue the seminary, graduates of which include “five saints of the Church and 14 Metropolitan Bishops”. “We should restore the building and prevent any layoffs of our professors,” he stressed.