An island where the apostle John was exiled “for speaking about God and bearing witness to Jesus.” (Rev. 1:9) While there, he received the Revelation. According to ancient tradition, John, having been condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in the fifteenth year of Domitian’s reign (c. 95 C.E.), was released after the death of that ruler.
Situated in the Icarian Sea (a part of the Aegean) about thirty-five miles (56 kilometers) W of Asia Minor, Patmos lay less than 150 miles (240 kilometers) from all seven congregations specifically addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. This small volcanic island (about 9 miles [14 kilometers] long and 5 miles [8 kilometers] wide) 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.