The three day fast of Nineveh commemorates the three days that Prophet Jonah spent inside the belly of the fish. (Book of Jonah in the Bible). The Syriac Orthodox Church started observing this fast since the early centuries. Later, two sister Oriental Churches, the Coptic and the Armenian followed this tradition. It is observed for three days from the second Monday before lent.

Like other fasts of the church, the Nineveh Fast is observed by abstaining from all kinds of dairy foods and meat products. However, some parishioners abstain from food and drink altogether from Sunday midnight to Wednesday after Holy Qurbono, which is celebrated before noon. We take this opportunity to advice those who wish to observe the strict fasting without food or drink to do so only after consulting their physicians and not to harm their bodies which are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

May the Lord God accept your prayers, repentance and fasting. May He reward you and shower His blessing upon you.


The Ninevites trembled at the voice of Jonah, the son of Mathai, and took refuge in penitence by watching, fasting and prayer; and by tears and groans the sentence of judgment was annulled which Jonah had pronounced concerning the destruction of Nineveh. Blessed be the Compassionate one who turned them from evil to good (Thursday Evening Prayer).

God, who heard the prayer of the son of Mathai in the sea and commanded the mighty fish, and in three days it cast him up; hear our prayer and be reconciled with us and respond in your mercy to our requests; and if we have angered you, there are those who will reconcile you with us, the just who died for love of you (Wednesday Morning Prayer).

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