The Revelation of Saint John the Evangelist

Book of RevelationThe Revelation of Saint John the Evangelist forms a worthy conclusion to the whole of sacred Scripture, presenting a wonderful counterpart to the first book, the Book of Genesis. It is a sacred text which has resounded through the centuries and has exercised an enormous influence. Apart from its great religious significance and other importance, this fundamental book possesses a special literary value since there is nothing quite like it in world literature.

Within the pages of this book we find the Church herself presented as she has always lived her life and always will live it until the end of the world. Moreover, this book was written exclusively for her, for her fulfilment, for her final destiny. That is why however many times we read the pages of the Apocalypse we hear the voice of the Ancient of Days reaching us, the voice of the Church’s Bridegroom, like the sound of many waters: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.

Revelation consists of twenty two chapters. But the text unfolds rapidly. It concerns, as the author tells us, the Revelation which God gave to Christ and which through His angel He made known – revealed – to John who at the time was in exile on the island called Patmos.
Revelation is a liturgical book and at the same time the most eschatological text of the New Testament. Through its language and its images, borrowed from the Old Testament but illuminated by the presence of the Holy Spirit, it describes factually the history of the Church and morally her function in space and time (worship). It, therefore, constitutes the litmus test of Christian teaching and life. If the Gospels describe the how of the Word’s becoming flesh, Revelation is the extension of Christology in time and in history. In the Old Testament the Liturgy revolved around the experience of the Exodus, and eschatological salvation was rightly awaited as a new “exodus” with the help of a new Redeemer, through a new Covenant. Similarly, in Revelation the same dynamic Liturgy is described, this time revolving around the Lamb that was slain. From the Book of Revelation Orthodox theo-
logy draws information about its author, John the Evangelist. It learns about the most difficult and eventful part of his life, his exile “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9) on the then insignificant island of Patmos during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (95 A.D.).

With John the Evangelist the unimportant island of Patmos becomes glorious and remains historically important as the unique place in Greece of God’s Revelation, of the divine Presence and Theophany. And this we confirm in the sacred Cave of the Apocalypse, on the very spot in the split in the sacred rock in the form of three chambers where at the time of the Revelation to John the voice of the Son of God was heard like a two-edged sword and like the sound of many waters.

Since the time when John, the exiled Apostle, left his traces in the cave, his marks on the rock of the place of writing, Patmos has been regarded as a holy island and has been the object of pilgrimage from all over the Christian world. Since then Patmos has belonged to the holy places of the Orthodox East and has attracted Church interest from all over the world.

For centuries now, people have poured over the Book of Revelation and have been curious about the Sacred Cave of the Theophany, seeking to penetrate its meaning and venerate with devotion the traces of the disciple of Love. This book aspires to prepare the reader for such holy and mystical veneration, setting out appropriately what relates to the theological significance of the Apocalypse.

May the soaring eagle of our Theology, St John the Theologian, help us in this task. He is the only one worthy to act as our guide in the Mysteries of the prophetic Visions.

For further reading visit: the-book-of-revelation


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