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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 16.12.2011]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


SANDRI Card. Leonardo
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, was born on 18 November 1943 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to parents of Italian descent. He was ordained a priest on 2 December 1967 and holds a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In 1971 he entered the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and in 1974 he served at the nunciature in Madagascar. From 1977 to 1989, he worked at the Secretariat of State. In 1989 he was posted to the United States as counsellor at the nunciature and served as papal representative at the Organization of American States.

On 22 August 1991 he became regent of the prefecture of the Pontifical Household and on 2 April 1992, assessor of the section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. On 22 July 1997 he was appointed titular Archbishop of Cittanova and Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela. He was ordained a bishop on 11 October of that year.

On 1 March 2000 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico and later, on 16 September, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. On 9 June 2007 he succeeded Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud as prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

He was a President Delegate of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Byshops (10-24 October 2010),"The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. 'Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4:32)".

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of San Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari (Sts. Blaise and Charles ai Catinari).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for Doctrine of the Faith; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Bishops;
  • Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
  • Pontifical Councils: for Promoting Christian Unity; for Inter-religious Dialogue; for Legislative Texts,  
  • Pontifical Commissions: for Latin America (Counsellor); for Vatican City State;
  • Special Council for the Middle East of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

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