(SOCM) - Present day Mosul Iraq is the Nineveh of old visited by Prophet Jonah. Like the Biblical Ninevites & the villagers, let us pray for our Iraqi Christian brothers and sisters during the Nineveh Fast. May they be saved from persecution, and be allowed to return back home.
In the photo is Archbishop HE Mor Nicodemus Daoud Matti Sharaf, the Metropolitan of Mosul diocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Recently H.E visited his Cathedral, which he was prevented from entering for 2 years due to ISIS occupation. Mor Nicodemus breaks down into tears as he views the ruins of St. Ephrem Cathedral (the largest church in Iraq) the seat of his bishopric, that was destroyed by IS. In some ways, the destruction of the Cathedral is sadly symbolic of the devastation & near extinction of the entire Christian community of Iraq.
The Christians of Iraq have been decimated continuously in recent years from the US invasion in 2003, & now at the destructive hands of ISIS. From a population of 1.5 million, their numbers have dwindled to less than 200k.
The Fast of Nineveh originated in the Syriac Church & holds a place of great importance to the people of Iraq. In the village Beth Garame there was a highly infectious disease afflicting the citizens. The then Bishop summoned the people for a public prayer, telling them to supplicate to the Lord as the Ninevites of old did. The villagers were healed miraculously. From then onwards a three day fast became an annual occurrence.