The Bishopric of Public, Ecumenical and Social Services (BLESS) is a bishopric of the Coptic Orthodox Church which serves all who are in need.
BLESS was established in 1962 to be the social, diaconal, and developmental arm of the Church.
BLESS was established on September 30th, 1962 to provide a wide range of diaconal services to the poorest communities in Egypt. Within the Coptic Orthodox Church, BLESS is viewed as a major social arm which provides its services to all dioceses.
At its establishment, BLESS was assigned to conduct three major roles:
(1) Community development
(2) Charity and financial support
(3) Ecumenical relations
Bishop Samuel was the first bishop who was ordained to oversee BLESS. He paid a great deal of attention to the three areas of service mentioned above. Unfortunately, His Grace was assassinated, and Egypt went through a period of instability and uncertainty. During the interim, Metropolitan Athanasious was assigned to lead the organization and guide it towards safety.
On June 2nd, 1985, Metropolitan Serapion was assigned to lead the organization. He built various systems, recruited professional staff, and performed services in the fields of ecumenical, social, and community development. In early 1996, Bishop Youannes took over. He emphasized charity work and created a new approach called Comprehensive Integrated Development (CID). In July 2015, Bishop Yolios was assigned to lead BLESS. He gave special attention to community development work. He started updating BLESS bylaws, statutes, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). He formed an advisory board for BLESS and reignited efforts to reposition BLESS as a faith-based organization serving Egyptian communities in need. In the pursuit to enhance proficiency, BLESS has recruited a team of outstanding professionals (advisory committee) to provide programmatic, management, and administrative advice. In addition, an experienced executive director was assigned to lead the staff and work alongside His Grace Bishop Yolios. The committee was mandated to advise BLESS’ leadership on programmatic, management, and administrative matters. Moreover, a volunteering committee was created which includes Egyptian experts in the areas of program development, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, human resources, and financial management.