The Holy, Royal, Patriarchal, Stavropegic and Coenobiac Monastery of St John the Theologian and Evangelist was founded in 1088, when Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos granted the island of Patmos to Hosios Christodoulos. The Monastery was build in a heavily fortified style due to the threats of piracy and the Selçuk Turks and has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox learning ever since. Throughout the centuries -almost a millenium- the Monastery's course in history has been uninterrupted. The Patriarchal Exarchy of Patmos is directly under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the island was pronounced Holy by the Revered Patriarchal and Synodic Act and by the law 1155/81 of the Greek state. The Monastery along with the Chora and the Cave of the Apocalypse are part of Unesco's World Heritage List due to their outstanding universal value (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/942).
The Great Treasury of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is the
greatest museum in the Aegean. Some of the most precious artefacts of
the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period are exhibited in two wings.
These include documents, manuscripts and incunabula, icons and
ecclesiastical silver, vestments, wood carved ecclesiastical objects and
furniture, jewels and votives, classical and early-christian
antiquities, as well as representative items from the vast Ottoman and
Slavic collections of documents and art. The proceeds from the symbolic
entrance fee and the purchasing of souvenirs, copies and books from the
Museum Shop contribute to the maintenance of the Museum and the Restoration
Laboratories, in order to continue the tradition of the Monastic
Brotherhood for the protection and the restoration of these treasures,
which are deposited as votives by both famous and anonymous faithful, so
that future generations may appreciate this great ecumenical culture
and the legacy of Byzantium.