I Am Nineveh, That Great City

I am Nineveh that great city. Come let me tell you about myself, and my lands and my people. Come let me tell you how I was and what I have become. Come let me tell you, for you can become one of my people, dressed in glory as they are and honoured with them. Come closer to me and I will tell you how I was naked and we were smothered with blood, the blood of sin... I and my people we did not just taste sin but we drank it and drowned in it.

NinevehWe had eyes and yet did not see and we had ears yet we did not hear. There was only one voice I would hear and that was the voice of sin. It was a voice I loved to hear. Unclean food was what I would eat and I loved to eat it. Evil thoughts were what I would run after. I and my people were slaves to sin and we were twelve thousand in number. We did not know our left from our right.

All the countries that surrounded me, in fact in every place, incense would be raised to the Lord God from dawn until dusk but from my heart and from my people, we offered the smell of evil and hatred, that which the Lord could not stand.

I am the city of Nineveh and allow me to call you by name and say, 'Come my son' for these words have become very precious to me, for I heard it many times and yet I disobeyed. It is a key to some very strong locks, and in my ignorance I refused to take hold of it, or to even touch it. I did not listen. I did not even want to hear the voice which said 'Come My son' or even the same voice which said, 'return My son', 'listen My son', 'arise', 'clean the dust of yourself', 'escape for your life', 'be loosened from your chains', or even 'awaken from your sleep and slumber'.

The sin which I drank with my people made us deaf in our ears, and blinded our eyes. It killed our will and destroyed our strength. It corrupted the beauty of our image and led us down the path of darkness and destruction.

I and my people became blind and who amongst us could lead a blind man given our blindness? We sat in the road as the dead in the tomb and we were down trodden in the blood of our sins. This is how we were until we heard that the wrath of God was coming upon us with His scepter of righteousness.

He who sits upon the throne of my city arose from his slumber and as a sound mind moves to consider the issues so the heart of our ruler moved. The voices which we could not hear before, saying, 'come', 'return', 'repent', 'arise', 'awake', began once more to ring in our ears and became our rescue raft. Every one clung to it that they may be saved.

I cannot describe to you my son how I became or how my people became or the livestock of my land or the plants of my fields in those days. The great king descended from his throne and wore sackcloth and sat in the ashes weeping.

The breast of every woman stopped feeding her child with milk despite their cries. My boys and girls, my men and women, and all my elders prayed and fasted and wept and mourned with true hearts.

My son you could not imagine the tears, and the cries of my people. I saw them in their sins and I also saw them in their repentance. For the first time I saw with my eyes the tears of my people. I saw it pour out from the greatest to the least of them and their tears washed their hearts.

I saw them as they wept, and I watched as their tears purified the uncleanness of my land. I witnessed them plough the soil and fields of their souls from afresh. I saw them plant the seed of regret in their hearts. I watched how they waited on the Lord to have pity on them and shine the Sun of His righteousness on their most inner depths.

I saw for myself how the seed of regret grew and flowered until it gave fruits of repentance. I lived with my people in the days when they fasted and prayed to God and I witnessed the mercies of God come upon them and how He lifted His wrath from them. I saw how God forgave them their sins.

I am the city of Nineveh. I awoke from my slumber. I arose from my fall. I cleaned the dust of my garments. I sat on my throne.

I was once down trodden with the blood of my sins and today I am greatly honoured before my Creator and Saviour. I clung to the hand of God which is extended to everybody and He carried me from death to life. His hand gave me everything I needed for life. I returned to God from all my heart and the Lord returned to me and gave life to my soul once more.

My son I have tasted evil and I regretted everything I did. I even regretted that it took me so long to return to God. I beg you therefore do not take lightly the words, 'return to Me...' or 'come...'

Answer the call quickly for it is a medicine for your soul that will heal you. Return to God so that you might win your precious self back. The Lord Christ said to us, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose himself.”

My son, ask yourself where are you now? And who is this God who wants you to return to Him? Is this not God who is the source of light, who is life, who gives knowledge and does all good things? He is the One who does every good thing towards you and gives you the things which angels desire to look upon.

Is not God the One who raised you from the depths to the light and who gave you life from death and freedom from the bondage of slavery?

All these teachings were given to you by the church which was established for you by Christ and left for you. Therefore come my son and join the ranks of my people and hear the words.

My son, return to God so that your soul might live.


The Great City of Nineveh

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

  • St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church
    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX