First, the early wake up call and breakfast. Then to the Pythagoria to meet our ferry. On board with our Greek captain complete with giant mustache and amazing Greek fishing hat (sorry, no picture). And the journey began. Three hours on the Aegean. Even though the water is beautiful and sparkling blue, and the islands are picturesque, the journey is long...really long. However, the trip is more than worth it.
We met our guide, Nicholas, at the port in Patmos. We loaded our bus and headed to the Grotto of St. John. After a brief introduction to and devotional on Revelation led by Rev. Will Scott, Nicholas began to orient us to our experience. We would enter the Grotto of John where he received the revelations recorded in the letter by the same name. We would see where tradition says John laid when he was tired, where he placed his hand to assist him as her rose, the flat surface where the revelations were recorded by his disciple Prochorus, and the place where the rock split into three sections at the sound of the voice of Christ. There is truly something wonderful about this place. It is difficult not to be swept away in the presence of God and the divine mystery that was revealed there.
After our tour of the grotto we ascended to the top of the hill to visit the Monastery of St. John. This complex was built in the 10th century AD. It is still an active monastery. It is a beautiful site full of many surprises and a magnificent museum containing icons, a parchment of Mark dating from the 4th century AD, and other important artifacts. Included in this collection is an icon that was painted by El Greco.
It was then time for lunch and Greek dancing! That's right! I have the pictures to prove it. It was so much fun. We even got to celebrate Anna funke's birthday while we were there.
After our busy day it we had to catch our ferry for our three hour ride back to Samos where several occupied their time by playing cards. Once back in Samos we had a fun dinner in our small groups and enjoyed delicious gelato before returning to our hotel to turn in for the night.
Tomorrow is another early morning and busy day as we visit Turkey where we will see the Basilica of St. John, the Isa Bey Mosque, and the ancient city of Ephesus. It is supposed to be hot. Please keep us in your prayers.
Good night - Kali Nichta.