I asked Father Lawrance about how Assyrian Christians interpret the story of Jonah and what it means for them today. He sent me a long email back and told me that three weeks before the beginning of Lent, the Assyrian Church commemorates the repentance of the Ninevites with a three-day fast. [It's called Baouta d' Ninwayeh or the Rogation (beseeching) of the Ninevites.] This tradition dates back to the 6th century, when there was a plague in the city of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq. The Christians there fasted and prayed, just as the Ninevites had done, and the plague miraculously ended. Ever since then, the Churches of the East have strictly observed this fast. It begins tomorrow.