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I vaguely remember something in either your ancestry or the history of the COE dealing with the city of Nineveh. Did your ancestors migrate from there or is this where the COE originated? I think the COE still practices some type of festival based on something that happened in Nineveh. Can you clear up the fog?

Shlama Akhi Keith,

The Assyrians are a historically significant part of the Church of the East, though they were only one ethnic group among many others within the Church. They converted to Christianity in the 1st-century A.D. They live today in what's known as "northern Iraq", ancient Assyria.

Prior to their conversion to Christianity, they had experienced a gradual conversion to Judaism. This began with the preaching of the prophet Jonah, and culminated during the reign of Queen Helena of Adiabene.

The "Rogation of the Ninevites" - the fast proclaimed by the king in response to Jonah's preaching (Jonah 3:5-10) has been kept continuously for almost 2,900 years by the Assyrians. The Church of the East adopted this ancient pre-Christian fast into their liturgical cycle. It is celebrated during the month of Shuwat (February.)

I'm an Assyrian-American. All of my grandparents emigrated to Syria and Lebanon from various villages around the ruins of Nineveh after the genocide of 1915-1918.

From Syria and Lebanon, they found their way to Greece, and from there to the U.S. I am the 1st-generation born here in the states. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
[Image: sig.jpg]

Thanks for the quick response. Is the "rogation of the Ninevites" more than a fast, meaning is there a feast or festival associated with it? Can I then assume that- the seed was planted for the growth of the COE by Jonah?

Why do you guys keep this "fast"? Is it to basically remember the heritage of the origins of the word of God as originally preached by Jonah and then culminated with the preaching of Bartholomew, Thomas, and Thaddeus which in turn gave birth to the COE?

I just found this website which had fascinating material about the origins of your church <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... n&ie=UTF-8</a><!-- m -->. You should be proud of your spiritual heritage, I would be.

In Christ's Love,
Hi Akhi Keith,

The Rogation of the Ninevites is a very solemn time, a purely fasting period with lots of self-examination. As for why it's still observed - I think the people have kept it all these years to commemorate God sparing their beloved city Nineveh. It could have easily been obliterated the way Sodom and Gomorrah were.

The story of Jonah is a fantastic example of God's universal love for mankind. It's a pretty amazing thing to have had a prophet sent to us Gentiles in the Old Testament. I'm not sure there is another example of that. Their repentance was remembered even by Meshikha (Mattai 12:41) who used the sign of Jonah to demonstrate that once again God's message will be brought to us.

I do think Jonah, unintentionally and unwillingly of course, planted the seeds of faith that later would become an important part of the Church of the East. Maybe that was God's plan, after all. It's an interesting thought.

P.S. - the tomb of Jonah near Nineveh is a place of pilgrimage to this very day. My last name, incidentally, is Aramaic for "Jonah." <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
[Image: sig.jpg]

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