An island where the apostle John was exiled “for speaking about God and bearing witness to Jesus.” (Re 1:9) While there, he received the Revelation. According to ancient tradition, John, having been condemned by Domitian to dwell on the island of Patmos, was released after the death of that ruler (96 C.E.).—The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII, p. 562, “Acts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian.”
Situated in the Icarian Sea (a part of the Aegean) about 55 km (34 mi) W of Asia Minor, Patmos lay about 60 km (37 mi) WSW of Miletus and less than 240 km (150 mi) from all seven congregations specifically addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. This small volcanic island has a very irregular coastline and is quite barren and rocky. But today wheat, olives, and grapes are cultivated there. Apparently because of its isolation, Patmos, along with other Aegean islands, served as a penal isle.