Also designated the Fast of Nineveh, this fast is observed to commemorate the penance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah (Jon. 3:1-10).
This fast was originally kept by the Syrian Orthodox Church and was adopted as one of the fasts of the Coptic church by Patriarch ABRAHAM, the sixty-second pope of Alexandria (975-978), as a mark of unity and solidarity between the two sister churches.
It lasts for three whole days, representing the time spent by Jonah inside the whale, starting on a Monday, about two weeks before the beginning of the Great Lent. Liturgies are held daily in the afternoon. The eating of fish and all forms of animal fat is not allowed during this fast.
The fraction prayers appointed to be said during the liturgical service included the following words: “It was through fasting and prayer, observed by the people of Nineveh, that God had mercy on them, forgave their sins, and turned His wrath away from them.”