The Refectory of the Μonastery of Saint John the Theologian, is among the first buildings that were constructed by Hosios Christodoulos, when the island of Patmos was granted to him by Emperor Alexios I Comnenos, in 1088. During the Middle Byzantine period there were two construction phases, in the 11th and in the 12th century.
Refectories hold a special place in a monastery complex. It is the building where the monks gather for the communal meals, during which are read excerpts from the Lives of Saints and the Holy Bible. It is, in this way, a building not purely secular, nor religious, that is why it is decorated with frescoes.
The Refectory of Patmos is the only Middle Byzantine Refectory that is still in use by members of the community.Moreover, it is the sole refectory that preserves almost half of its Middle Byzantine decoration and the basic tool for researchers in the attempt to reconstruct the iconographic programme of Middle Byzantine Refectories, as only one other Refectory of the same period preserves enough frescoes to abet research, at the Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin at Appollonia, Albania.
Inside the refectory of Patmos, the remaining pictorial decoration belongs to three different phases, one at the end of the 12th and two at the beginning and the second half of the 13th century. Even though almost half of the original wall paintings are missing, four iconographic cycles can be discerned: one eucharistic, one concerning the Passions of Christ, one dogmatic and one depicting ascetes. They are all of exquisite style and technique and are attributed to Constantinopolitan workshops.