Fast of Nineveh and Shamoun Sobo Feast celebrated by Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Lebanon and Syria

BEIRUT — On Wednesday, the Catholic Churches following the Western calendar celebrated the Fast of Nineveh with Holy Liturgies.

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Mar Ignatius of Antioch in Beirut, Lebanon. In his sermon, the Patriarch spoke about the significance of the fast and prayed for the Lord’s blessings, healing for the sick, and peace and security for the world.

The Fast of Nineveh commemorates the three days the Prophet Jonah spent in the belly of the Great Fish and the subsequent fasting and repentance of the people of Nineveh. This fast is also known as the “Fast of al-Ba’utha,” which means “supplication” in Syriac, in reference to the people’s acts of repentance.

In related news, Orthodox Churches celebrated the Feast of Christ’s Entry into the Temple and the commemoration of Mor Shamon Sobo, one of the 72 Jewish elders who translated the Old Testament into Greek. A pious and faithful priest, Mor Shamon lived long enough to witness the arrival of the Messiah, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. This feast is celebrated by the Orthodox Churches on 2 February, 40 days after the birth of Christ. On this day, children are often brought to the church to receive Jesus’ blessing.