On 26 January 2017, the World Council of Churches honoured its deputy general secretary, Mr. Georges Lemopoulos, upon his retirement after his 30 years of faithful service to the council and the ecumenical movement. Lemopoulos served also as Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from 2008 to 2015.
Georges Lemopoulos served under five different WCC general secretaries, attended five general assemblies, 22 central and 52 executive committee meetings, numerous special ecumenical gatherings and worked in a range of different capacities within the council (from intern to staff member to deputy general secretary). His unique experience gave him the capacity of a highly critical and thoughtful approach to all WCC issues, always evaluating the present in the light of the past and of the future, strengthening the fellowship of churches and their vision.
As a final gesture of honour, Lemopoulos was appointed by the WCC Secretary General as coordinator of the planning group for the 70th anniversary of the WCC to be celebrated in 2018.
On behalf of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Eminence Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima, vice moderator of the WCC Central Committee, awarded Mr. Lemopoulos with the cross of the Mother of God-Pammakaristos, a highest distinction for his contribution for his Church and the ecumenical movement.