Monday, February 6, 2012

Fast of the Ninevites

We've arrived again at the Fast of Nineveh, the three-day fast commemorating the repentance of Nineveh and God's mercy on the Assyrian people. Many Orthodox - in Greece, Russia, and elsewhere - mark the approach of Lent with a fast-free week, but the Syrians, Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Indians rigorously observe the Fast of Nineveh to prepare for the coming Great Fast.

Historically the Fast of the Ninevites originated in Mesopotamia, where it was kept strictly by the Assyrians and from whom it was passed to other parts of the Orthodox world. In the past the fast was six days long, but was later reduced to three. More on the fast can be found here.

"The Ninevites trembled at the voice of Jonah, the son of Mattai, and took refuge in penitence by watching, fasting and prayer; and by tears and groans the sentence of judgment pronounced by Jonah concerning the destruction of Nineveh was annulled. Blessed is the Compassionate One who turned them from evil to good!" (A prayer of the West Syrian Rite.)

Whether you're celebrating a week free from fasting or following the example of the Ninevites, God help you in your preparation for the approaching Pascha of His Son!


  1. Blessed is the Compassionate One who turned them from evil to good! May we all do the same with His Mercy.

    An early Kali Sarakosti to you! (Good Lent)


  2. Many thanks! Melkam Abiy S'om! ('A blessed Lent!')