In January of 2020, His Excellency Ioannis Vlazakis was appointed by the Grand Knight as the Chief Herald of the Holy Orthodox Order of Saint George the Great Martyr. The office of Chief Herald is the responsible authority for the granting, design, and registration of all coat of arms for the members of the Order. His Excellency together with the Grand Knight designed the coat of arms of the Order. Ioannis is a renowned artist who specializes in heraldry and illuminated manuscripts inspired by the western medieval tradition. He has painted many coats of arms and personal blazons for several prestigious families in Greece and around the world. He has created logos for foundations and companies and has made numerous illustrated books.
His Excellency received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Theatre and Visual Arts Studies from the same university. He also holds a second Master of Arts degree (Insigne Mestre em Arte Heraldica) from the Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (ULHT) of Lisbon, Portugal. He is a Craft Member of the prestigious Society of Heraldic Arts of the United Kingdom and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heraldic and Genealogical Society of Greece. In addition, Ioannis is an Honorary Member of the Academia International De Heraldica Portugal, a Correspondent Member of the Instituto Dom Joao VI Portugal, an Honorary Member of the Academia Portuguesa de Ex Libris, and an Honorary Member of the Society of Serbian Armigers.
As an artist His Excellency has received numerous awards and decorations. These include a UNESCO Award in 2014 for his contribution to Fine Arts in Greece and an award by the Municipality of Tripoli (Greece) for supporting the nomination of the city as the European Capital of Culture. He has also received the Grand Cross of the “Ordem do Grao – Mestre Principe Dom Afonso De Portugal” from the Portuguese Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; a Golden Medal of the “Sociedade De Geografia De Labor Cientifico” from the Lisbon Geographical Society; a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; an “OttoKreuz” medal from the Committee for Preserving the Memory of Dr. Otto von Habsburg-Lorraine; a Gold Medal of Arts & Sciences from the Albert Schweitzer Organization; an award from the Prefecture of Arta, Athens; an Honorary Diploma from the Society of Greek Literaries; and has won First Prize from the Parnassos Art Society. In addition to his role of Chief Herald of the Holy Orthodox Order of Saint George the Great Martyr, Ioannis also serves as a member of Sovereign Council for the Order and as an official advisor to the Grand Knight.
His Excellency has made numerous personal exhibitions. These include:
- January 2019 – “Luminarie” at the Attic Gallery in Corfu, Greece
- June 2013 – “Great Portuguese Explorers of the 15 Century” at the Museum of the Sociedade De Geografia De Lisboa, Portugal
- June 2013 – “The Coat of Arms of the Portuguese Grand Masters of the Order of St. John”, an invitational exhibit by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta at the Church of Sant’ Anna in Azores, Portugal
- November 2011 – “Altes Rathaus” at the Old Town Ηall of Vienna, Austria
- November 2010 – “Illuminations” at the Greek Consulate in New York, U.S.A.
- September 2009 – “Magni Magistri 1305-1522” at the Neo-Hellenic Art Museum of Rhodes, in coordination with the Office of Byzantine Antiquities of Greece (the exhibit welcomed over 160,000 visitors)
- February 2009 – “Tracing the Middle Ages” in Athens
- March 2009 – “Arta: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” at Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall, under the auspices of the provincial government of Arta
- May 2008 – 2nd Annual International Medieval Art Festival in Rhodes, Greece