February 2016 English Newsletter Posted May 16, 2016 by admin


February 2016

My beloved the benevolent

Grace and peace wishing you every goodness and blessing

I would like to congratulate you on the Fast of Jonah which precedes the beginning of the Great Lent by two weeks. During Jonah’s fast we remember Jonah’s story and his repentance, the story of the people of Nineveh, their repentance and the sailors and their faith in God and offering sacrifice, “Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.” Jonah 1:16

The book of Jonah offers us a deep look into the love of God towards man and his care for everyone. God cared for the people of Nineveh who were of the gentiles who didn’t worship God and lived a life far from Him. God cares for everyone even the ones who don’t believe in Him. God sent Jonah his prophet to the people of Nineveh, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, Arise, go to Nineveh that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Jonah 1:1 Jonah did not obey God’s command and instead of going to Nineveh he escaped to Tarshish. God did not leave him and God did not leave the people of Nineveh, for after saving Jonah from the belly of the whale the book says, “Arise, go to Nineveh that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” God cared to specify to Jonah the message that he will relay to the people of Nineveh which is: “After 40 days Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Also, God cared that Jonah reach the people of Nineveh fast: “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk.” Jonah 3:3,4  We notice that God in His care for the people of Nineveh, was not just satisfied by commanding Jonah, but helped him in what to say and how to reach the city quickly. Jonah cried out about the demise of the city, but the people believed in God and offered a great, strong, and faithful repentance from the oldest to the youngest. “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented rom the disaster that He had said he would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10

God does not change, but those who were changed were the people of Nineveh so God had great mercy on them. Jonah was sad instead of rejoicing with the repentance of the people of Nineveh, so God taught him a lesson through the plant. A lesson that reveals the love of God and His care for everyone. So God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” and he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death! But the Lord said “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right and their left — and much livestock?” Jonah 4:9-11 God cared for the people of Nineveh because they are God’s creation and He cared also for the animals because He is merciful, compassionate, long suffering and great in mercy.

God cared for Jonah and prepared a whale and saved him from death, and before his repentance when he prayed inside the whale, and when he did not rejoice with the repentance of the people of Nineveh — because they were gentiles and thought the mercy of God is only for the Jews– God did not leave him, but taught him through the plant that He is the God of everyone and cares for everyone to be saved. Let us learn from the Book of Jonah to be like God and care for everyone:

  1. Care for the needy and suffering whether we know them or don’t know them, whether they are close or far from us.
  2. Let us persevere in doing good, because the enemy of goodness puts a lot of obstacles in the way of doing good. God persevered with Jonah till he went to the people of Nineveh and persevered with Jonah till he repented and learned that mercy is for all.
  3. Let us correct the mistakes that happen in doing good deeds and not failing in doing good. God corrected Jonah’s mistake.
  4. Let us trust that God is capable of turning everything for the good, for Jonah’s disobedience was turned to great repentance that we learn from these days.


Let us keep doing good deeds caring for every person that is in need, persevering in offering mercy and help regardless of the difficulties and the mistakes, trusting that our God is capable of turning everything to good. May God bless your offering to support St. Verena Charity program.

Bishop Serapion