This is Father Bolis of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, he is one of our partners in Jordan. He ministers to hundreds of Iraqi Christian families newly arrived in the country, most of whom fled northern Iraq after ISIS came. With our support, Father Bolis is feeding a significant number of refugees. The below interview was conducted by our team in Amman:
FRRME: “What was your experience like as a priest here in Jordan before the Iraqi refugees came?”
Father Bolis: “Before the Iraqi refugees came, we served the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. We had 350 Jordanian families in our parish here. We served them with mass every third week. We helped them with schooling, with health care, by bringing communion to people who were sick and dying, and also we helped them with spiritual matters. We conducted Bible study every week, which included religious teaching for the children.”
FRRME: “Now that the Iraqi refugees are here, how many families are you helping?”
Father Bolis: “We are helping around 200 Iraqi families now and more than 400 Jordanian families, so 600 in total.”
FRRME: “How are you helping the Iraqi refugee families?”
Father Bolis: “Iraqi refugees need help with all things. They have no money for rent, for medicine, for schooling, for the bus. But thanks to FRRME, we are able to provide food packages for 100 families every month.”
FRRME: “In your experience, where do Iraqi refugees want to go next? Many in the West assume they will return to Iraq.”
Father Bolis: “Most Iraqi refugees in Jordan dream of going to America first, Australia second, Canada third, Europe fourth. They don’t want to go back to Iraq. Those who come to Jordan want to leave for the West but it can take years. I have spoken with some families, asking them whether they would think of going back to Iraq if there was peace, if there wasn’t ISIS, if there was no war. They say they would not. I think those stuck in Erbil in Kurdistan may think of going back to Mosul, back to their homes, but the Christians in Jordan will not go back.”
FRRME: “What inspires you to help the Christians of Iraq?”
Father Bolis: “I am Christian. I am a priest. It is my mission to help these poor families. Jesus said: “However you treat the least of these, you are treating me.”
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