The tiny, arid Greek island of Patmos is one of the most sacred places in the Christian world, and a place of bewitching power, where people come for a brief summer visit and end up returning, year after year, for the rest of their lives. They respond to an unexplainable force which they can find nowhere else. Perhaps it is the invigorating "Greek light" that infuses the Holy Island's rocks and hills with a breathtaking sharpness and clarity, dating back to the time when Zeus raised the island from the bed of the sea.
Or perhaps it is Patmos's incredible history: almost two thousand years ago, Saint John was exiled here, and lived as a hermit in the Cave of Revelation, where he experienced a vision that led to the most famous piece of apocalyptic literature, the Book of Revelation.
In A Place of Healing for the Soul, BBC commentator Peter France who arrived on the island a hardened skeptic tells how he came to change his life perspective. Learning from the island’s gregarious inhabitants and its religious eccentrics hermits, ascetics, monks and nuns he discovered the pleasure and security of living simply and doing without, in a timeless realm where history, myth, and spirituality are endlessly alive.
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Peter France was born in Yorkshire. After graduating from Oxford and spending time in Fiji and Canberra, he became host of the popular BBC radio program The Living World. For fifteen years, he was the acclaimed host of Everyman, a television show that marked a new style of religious-affairs programming.From Publishers Weekly:
Like some of the people he has met on the Greek island of Patmos, France's latest book quietly exudes charis, the word he uses to describe their charm and grace. Part spiritual memoir and part travelogue, this is the former BBC radio and TV host's very personal story of life on Patmos, the island known for its connection to the exiled Christian disciple John and his apocalyptic book of Revelation. France and his wife, Felicia, first visited Patmos in 1987 at the invitation of Bishop Kallistos, also known as the writer Timothy Ware. Soon after, they fell in love with the island and decided to put down roots there. Along the way, France, a skeptical inquirer where religion was concerned, was mystically drawn to his wife's Orthodox faith, but still could not bring himself to embrace belief. How he came to be baptized (a story recounted in the book's remarkable introductory scene) is best left to him to tell. France's gentle sense of humor makes for delightful reading, particularly in his descriptions of the difficulties of life on Patmos and the ways of the Patmians. Always, however, France writes with deep respect for the people of the island. The religious and the irreligious alike will appreciate his wonderful ability to talk about faith in a way that makes Eastern Orthodoxy seem as inviting as Patmos itself.
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