From what I understand, tradition says that the Disciple John was exiled to the Island of Patmos. Would this have been an inconvenience or a major hardship?

  • 1
    You might consider asking this on the History site - they might have insight into the circumstances of exiles in general. Apr 24, 2019 at 14:38
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    I was trying to answer this question, but I wound up coming up with a tangential question that might answer this as well.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 24, 2019 at 20:12
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    @PeterTurner If you could summarize the answer from history.se that shouls wrap this up. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 24, 2019 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


John exile to Patmos was a way to get rid of him. They tried killing him by immersing him in boiling oil, but God preserved his life. I think more out of shock and fear, his Roman captors sent him to Patmos to keep his influence away from the populace.

For further reading see the 1883 book Acts of the Apostles by Ellen G. White


Here is a brief description of the conditions on Patmos in White's Book, Acts of the Apostles.

Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction (p.571) for the church for all future time.


While his surroundings might (p.572) be desolate and barren, the blue heavens that bent above him were as bright and beautiful as the skies above his loved Jerusalem. In the wild, rugged rocks, in the mysteries of the deep, in the glories of the firmament, he read important lessons. All bore the message of God's power and glory.

Though I'm not sure it's relevant, for full disclosure the author was a Seventh Day Adventist Christian.

  • It might be good to identify which Christian group believes this, since it's certainly not universally believed. Apr 24, 2019 at 17:09
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    If the book by White provides the answer to the conditions on Patmos then please cite the passage. If not then I don't see where you answered the question that was asked.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 24, 2019 at 21:58
  • Thank you for pasting the info from the book. Unfortunately for this site it's necessary to have a primary source. Is there a footnote or something in weitzbuch that would tell you what her source was? Without a primary source it's not a valid answer. Sorry!
    – Ruminator
    Apr 25, 2019 at 17:53

From Lexham Bible Dictionary entry on Patmos:

PATMOS (Πάτμος, Patmos). A small island in the Aegean Sea off the southwest coast of Asia Minor (Rev 1:9). According to a tradition preserved by Irenaeus, Eusebius, Jerome and others, John, the author of Revelation, was exiled there in the 14th year of the reign of Domitian and subsequently released to Ephesus under Nerva (96 AD).

There are more details here. I also found the boiling oil incident in Tertullian's in one of his writings, On the 'Prescription' of Heretics, Chapter 36.

Answering @DJClayworth about the Christian group: since Irenaeus was born in 130 AD and Tertullian was born in 155 AD, and since the tradition seems to established among the early church fathers, the Christian group believing this tradition was the catholic pre-Constantine group.

  • The article mentioned John working in the mines of Patmos but does not cite a source. I might need to check with the history site as the Christian sources appear to me to consist of myths. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 24, 2019 at 22:00

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