Codex 81 of Patmos is justifiably considered to be one of the masterpieces of Late Byzantine manuscript painting and of great importance for the study of painting in the 14th century. The manuscript has four leaves with four with full-page miniatures with the Evangelists. Opposite from each of them are a magnificently decorated headpiece and decorated initial of the corresponding Gospel. These leaves are written with gold letters. The portraits of the Evangelists have been executed with a refined style of a very high level. Their decorative frames are unusual for the 14th century and reminiscent of luxurious manuscripts of the 10th century. At the same time, their function as virtual windows is violated, such as when the foot of John interrupts the continuity of the frame. It seems that the artists of the manuscript had an excellent knowledge of the old models and, at the same time, presented an intense originality that would provoke the viewer.
On the portrait presented, John is depicted standing in a rocky landscape, dictating to Prochorus while inspired by God's hand. The Theologian and his pupil are located outside a cave, with the office inside. The scene is based on the apocryphal Acts of John by Prochorus, a work of the 5th century. The unusual element of the composition is the cave behind the figures; indeed, it is one of the earliest surviving representations with John and the cave of the Apocalypse. John is cosnidered to have dictated the Gospel to Prochorus on a mountainside and not in a cave where, according to tradition, he wrote the Apocalypse. The combination of the two traditions in the portrait of Patmos can be correlated with the fact that, during the period of its creation, the Revelation was declared canonical for the first time in the East.