Iraq: Chaldean Christians prepare for ‘fast of Nineveh’

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Patriarch Luis Raphael I
Chaldean Christians, in accordance with its liturgical tradition, are preparing to observe the ‘Fast of Nineveh’, preceding the three weeks of Lent. For three days, from Monday, January 18, the Chaldeans follow this spiritual practice, abstaining from food and drinks from midnight until noon the next day, avoiding to eat foods of animal origin during the three days.

On the eve of the Fast, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Luis Raphael I has invited all the faithful of the Chaldean Church to pray and live abstinence from food in order to ask the Lord for the return of the gift of peaceful coexistence in Iraq and throughout the troubled region of the Middle East.

The practice of the ‘Fast of Nineveh’ dates back to the fasting called by the prophet Jonah to the inhabitants of that corrupt city, which stood in the present Mosul, now in the hands of the jihadist of the Islamic Caliphate. That fast – so we read in the Bible – touched God and saved the city from annihilation.

In an official statement released by the Patriarchate, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also recalls the words of St Ephrem, who highlighted that the fasting of Nineveh was a model of sincere repentance.

Patriarch Louis Raphael repeated that Iraq is faced with a “deadly conflict”, fueled by religious fanatism, and calls everyone to prayer and penance to ask for conversion and invoke the waiver of all violence and war.