President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Wednesday conferred the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour to Greek shipowner Iakovos Tsounis, who has donated his entire fortune to the Armed Forces.
Tsounis, 97, donated 23 million euros to the Armed Forces and has also donated 60 landing craft over the years.
In a statement following conferment of the decoration, Sakellaropoulou said Tsounis is a “national benefactor”, and she emphasized that he had been distinguished for his contribution to the country since his adolescence, when at the age of 16 he enlisted as a Greek army volunteer and fought at the Albanian front.
In terms of his business acumen, she said he “never rested on his laurels”, but instead “put himself in the service of those in need, financially strengthening the work of many associations, institutions, committees and other organizations.”
Commenting on his cultural contributions, Sakellaropoulou praised his role as a custodian of cultural heritage, having been “an avid collector of national and ecclesiastical relics, which he offered to his compatriots, creating his namesake museum at the city of Egio”, in the Peloponnese, she noted. The Iakovos Tsounis Museum features a rich collection of 17th century artifacts, and was donated in its entirety to the Kalavrita and Aegialeia Holy Metropolis.
Tsounis, who was recently thanked by the government and Parliament for his donations, has also received several distinctions and titles for his contributions, including Greek Army and NATO honorary medals, and the title of Grand Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Presbyterian Patriarchates.