Rock of Kynops

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The Rock of Kynops refers to a strange looking rock jutting out of the sea in Petra Bay believed to be the petrified body of a satanical wizard by the name of Kynops destroyed during spiritual combat between Kynops and St. John the Theologian. The story of this combat is attributed to the saint's disciple, Prochorus, and contained in an ancient manuscript still kept hidden in the monastery on Patmos island.

A red buoy, some 200 yards west of the point where big ships now dock at Patmos, marks the spot where supposedly it all happened. Just beneath the surface is a rock some people say is man-shaped: Kynops, petrified in mid-dive by St. John 1,900 years ago.


Legend has it that living on the island at the time was a magician by the name of Kynops (meaning dog face). When he found out that John had arrived in Patmos and was preaching the word of this new god to and baptizing Patmians, Kynops became enraged.

During this time John spent much of his time repelling the demons that Kynops would dispatch with the specific order to carry off his soul. The story goes that Kynops was so enraged that he set off to find John and confront him.

Upon finding him at the seashore he challenged John to prove the existence of "God" by way of a magical duel in front of the new Christian followers. Kynops began to put on a sensational display of magic. Kynops told John to bring to life the father of one of the Patmian onlookers who was there and John refused.

Kynops dived into the water, emerging with phantoms of recently dead Patmians and a man resembling the Patmian man's father, flaunting his magical power. The crowd was so impressed with Kynops they cheered him and he incited them to attack John, which they did, leaving him for dead.

But the saint revived and confronted Kynops the next morning. John began to pray to God and made the sign of the cross. The sorcerer plunged into the sea once again but never returned. Tired of waiting for his reappearance for three days, the crowd dispersed and turned to Christianity.