- St John’s Grotto
- The Monastery of St John the Theologian
- The homeward voyage
- Engagement with the Text
- Other posts in this series:
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 0 Anticipation
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 1-2 Brisbane – Sydney – Abu Dhabi – Athens
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 3 Corinth and Athens
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 4 The Oracle of Delphi
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 5 Athens – Istanbul – Cappadocia
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 6 Kaymakli, Sultanhani Caravanserai, Konya
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 7 Mevlana Museum, Pisidian Antioch
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 8 Hierapolis, Pamukkale Pools, Colossae, Laodicea
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 9 Philadelphia, Sardis, Kusadasi
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 10 Ephesus
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 11 Patmos
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 12 Smyrna, Thyateria, Pergamon
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 13 Assos, Alexander Troas, Troy
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 14 Gallipoli
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 15 (and 16) Istanbul
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: In Review
We had an early start, so that we had time for the four hour boat ride to Patmos from Kusadasi… and four hours back again! We passed through passport control and got more stamps in the passport, because we were sailing from Turkey to a Greek island.
We were treated to a beautiful light show just after sunrise. Thank you, God.
I am blessed to be unaffected by sea sickness, but many in the group suffered. It’s an awful feeling, and there is no relief when you are at sea. Everyone was really amazing about it, and I admire them. It was hard.
St John’s Grotto
We visited the site of the cave where St John is reputed to have received The Revelation.
The Greek Orthodox Church have developed the site, and understandably venerated it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but unfortunately it makes the whole thing feel a lot less like a cave, and more like “The Private Study of St John”, potentially losing something in the process.
For example, there is a wall, with one small window, covering the entire opening of the cave mouth. The beautiful outlook that John would have sat contemplating is all but erased from the experience of being in the cave.
Nevertheless I am grateful to have been there. With some imagination to mentally remove all of the subsequent buildings, it is actually possible still to imagine The Theologian in the Cave.
The Monastery of St John the Theologian
Now, the Monastery at the top of the hill is amazing! It’s still functioning as a monastery, with a few dozen monks in residence. There are amazing frescoes, and a rich history. There is also a museum housing lots of great artefacts, including one manuscript which is 1400 years old…
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos of the best stuff.
The homeward voyage
It took a lot of courage for those who had been seasick to contemplate the four hour journey back to Kusadasi. The reality was that they didn’t have a choice, but to walk onto that boat required real grit. I was delighted to have prayed with several people before we boarded.
Mercifully, the seas were not quite as rough, and most people suffered less on the way back. It also helped that we formed a choir on the back deck, and sang ourselves home. The group was developing lovely harmony, which just reflected the personal relationships deepening between the members.
… and the sunset was lovely.
Engagement with the Text
The text for the day was Revelation 1. The visit to the cave was, surprisingly given the extent to which it is no longer really a ‘cave’, a great spot to visit and contemplate John’s exile to Patmos and the Seven Churches to whom the Revelation is addressed, some of which we had already visited. It remains amazing to me, to contemplate the density of Old Testament imagery, paralleled with contemporaneous topics and projected onto a superlative, cosmic backdrop. One might well call him St John the Charismatic Seer.
Other posts in this series:
Expectations These are my thoughts as I pack for a Study Tour of Greece and Turkey with my Bible College: Intellectually My thinking process…
Brisbane - Sydney - Abu Dhabi - Athens Day 1 is mostly travel. In fact, it's hard to define what, precisely, is a "day" when you cross so many time…
Corinth and Athens We drove down the coast to Corinth in the morning, and returned to Athens after lunch to see the Parthenon and…
The Oracle of Delphi We headed out from Athens, and in a two hour trip we saw an amazing landscape change from cityscape, to countryside, to…
Athens - Istanbul - Cappadocia Just as we started to get used to Athens, we were off into the great unknown territory of Turkey. Unknown, that is,…
Kaymakli, Sultanhani Caravanserai, Konya For many in the group, the day began with a hot air balloon ride! They tell me it was amazing, and…
Mevlana Museum, Pisidian Antioch Beforehand, I would have expected Mevlana Museum to be irrelevant, and Pisidian Antioch to be somewhat interesting.…
Hierapolis, Pamukkale Pools, Colossae, Laodicea Oh my goodness, what a day! Hierapolis Hierapolis is mentioned in the Bible only…
Philadelphia, Sardis, Kusadasi Happy birthday to me! January 18th is my birthday, and someone on tour happened to ask, just a couple of…
Ephesus Just when you think you've got no more "wow", there's Ephesus... The whole site is like a visual feast. It reminded me of those…
Patmos We had an early start, so that we had time for the four hour boat ride to Patmos from Kusadasi... and four hours back again! We passed…
Smyrna (Izmir), Thyateria, Pergamon (Bergama) It's a big day when you visit three sites. On top of that, two out of these particular three were…
Assos, Alexander Troas, Troy Today we visited three sites, and all were impressive. It was another big day for all of us. He didn't let on, but I…
Gallipoli Without any hesitation I can state that this was the most moving and emotional day of the tour. Gallipoli is special. Here it…
Istanbul This is quite a town! It has twice the population of the largest city in Australia. The road rules seem to be taken as no more than a…