Today, our Church celebrates The Leavetaking (Apodosis) of The feast of The Universal Exaltation of The Holy and Life-giving Cross. We also honor the memory of Prophet Jonah and Apostle Quadratus (Kodratos) of the Seventy, who preached at Magnesia.
Prophet Jonah is one of the so-called “Minor” Prophets of the Old Testament. He tried to disobey God’s command to preach repentance at Nineveh and boarded a ship to a different destination. During the voyage, a great storm arose and he was then forced to reveal his disobedience to God’s will.
Then they threw him into the sea voluntarily and immediately the storm stopped. Jonah was swallowed up by a large whale, which carried him ashore three days later. This miracle theologically prefigured the three-day burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
After the shipwreck, Jonah was again commanded by God to preach repentance to Nineveh. In this case he quickly obeyed the will of God. Jonah preached in Nineveh and then settled outside to see the result. Then the Ninevites humbly mourned, fasted, repented and were saved.
In the place where the Prophet Jonah settled, a squash plant grew, which with its shadow protected Jonah from the heat. Amazed at Nineveh’s non-destruction, he looked at the squash plant, saw it drying up, suffering from the heat, and regretted it “very much”. He complained to God about the destruction of the squash plant. But he immediately got an answer from God, “who cares more about people than Jonah about the squash plant.”
© Church of Cyprus