The Purple Codex makes our stop to Patmos a step up from most Footsteps of Paul cruises!

Purple Codex

In the 6th Century the Biblical manuscript titled the Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus. Called the Purple Codex due to the particular color of the parchment, the masterpiece is among the earliest illustrated books in existence, possibly the oldest. It is the first of two volumes of a Book of the Gospels, and contains the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the second volume, lost at some point during the past 15 centuries.

The unique manuscript contained the names of God written in silver and gold on purple-dyed vellum. The original codex was 462 leaves (many now in Russia) and was kept at the Imperial Constantinople Scriptorium, the last of the great libraries of the ancient world that was eventually destroyed.

Six hundred years later, the Crusaders dismembered this precious document page by page. Thirty three of these magnificent pages can be seen at a small museum adjacent to the cave of the Apostle John in the quaint Christian Orthodox monastery museum on the Island of Patmos.

33 Pages of the Purple Codex Biblical Manuscript in Patmos

Someone who studies how God uses numbers in the Word may find that the island of Patmos is home to exactly  33 pages of this magnificent Biblical manuscript. This Biblical manuscript from the 6th Century called the Purple Codex, was previously kept at the Constantinople Scriptorium (Istanbul).  The pages of this ancient manuscript contain the names of God written in silver and gold. At some point around the 12th century its pages were sold page by page, most likely during Crusader times. The original codex was 462 pages and 33 of these pages are kept in the quaint monastery museum that we visit on the Island of Patmos in Greece. Our visits to the Island of Patmos allows us to visit the cave where John lived and received the Book of Revelation, and it provides ample time to walk through the museum to see this Codex and other manuscripts worth noting. Join us for some lively discussions on the preservation of manuscripts and scrolls on one of our Christian journeys!

See the purple codex for yourself

Not all Footsteps of Paul cruises and tours will take you to this site. An amazing, one-of-a-kind opportunity awaits you when you take one of our Footsteps of Paul or 7 Churches of Revelation tours to the history rich island of Patmos.

The island of Patmos is on the sea route located between Rome and Ephesus, accessible only by boat or helicopter. It is only 37 miles from Miletus (another site on our travel itineraries) and just 45 miles from Ephesus. It is well-known that Ephesus was home to the Temple of Diana, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But, during the Apostle John’s stay on Patmos, they know now that there were at least 3 Greek temples, including one to Artemis on Patmos.

We will show you the foundation stones of the Chapel of the Virgin Mary that are actually remains of one of these temples. You will gain a new perspective when you see its strategic location, based on the evil of that time period and the geography that John would have viewed when receiving the Book of Revelation. Join some of the top teaching speakers on one of our small luxury Footsteps of the Apostle Paul cruise itineraries or our 7 Churches of Revelation Greece and Turkish tours!

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