Monk Christodoulos on Island of Patmos (AD 1020-1093)

John was born in Nicea (modern Iznik) into a poor Christian family, around 1020. As a young man, he went to live a solitary life as a hermit on Mount Olympus (modern Bursa) and was renamed Christodoulos, which in Greek means “slave of Christ.”

He became the spiritual leader of a monastery on the mountain of Latros, near to Miletus, which was the location of numerous monasteries. When the Turks conquered the Miletus area, Christodoulos and his monks fled to the island of Cos where they founded the Monastery of the Pure Mother of God.

Christodoulos went to Constantinople and requested permission from emperor. Alexius to build a monastery on the Aegean island of Patmos, which was deserted because of the violent invasions of the Arab Muslims. Alexius gave the whole island to Christodoulos, who with his team of monks went to live on Patmos in August 1088.

Bringing masons and builders from Constantinople, they immediately began the construction of the Cave Church of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of Saint John. By 1091, most of the monastery was completed, including an exterior fortification because of ongoing threats from pirates and Turks.

In 1093, the continual raids forced Christodoulos and his monks to flee to the island of Euboia, where he died in March 1093. A few years later, the monks returned to Patmos, regained control of the monastery, and placed Christodoulos’ physical remains inside.