One of the original twelve, or Dodecanese, Greek islands, Patmos is rich in both history and natural beauty. The small, hilly island (34.6 square kilometers) was populated from as early as 500 BC by Dorians, next the Ionians, and then the Romans from the 2nd century BC. The earliest known temples on the island were the 4th century BC sanctuary of the goddess Diana and a temple of Apollo. Scholars suspect that the name Patmos may derive from Latmos or Mt. Latmos of Turkey, where the goddess was worshipped (Diana is the Roman name for Artemis, Apollo’s sister). During the period of Roman rule the island fell into decline, the population decreased, and the island was used as a place of banishment for criminals and political and religious troublemakers. In 95 AD, St. John the Theologian – one of the twelve disciples of Jesus – was sent into exile on the island. St. John remained on the island for eighteen months during which time he lived in a cave below the hilltop temple of Diana. In this cave exists a fissure, or small hole in the rock wall, from which issued a series of oracular messages that Prochoros, a disciple of St. John, transcribed as the Biblical chapter of Revelations. During his time in the sacred cave, now known as the Holy Grotto of the Revelation, St. John also composed the Fourth Gospel.