Cardinal Deacon of Ss Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari
Born on 18 November 1943 in Buenos Aires to an immigrant Italian family, he studied at the Metropolitan Seminary of Buenos Aires and the Theological Faculty of Buenos Aires, before studying in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University (doctorate in canon law) and at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (diplomacy).
He was ordained for the archdiocese of Buenos Aires on 2 December 1967 by (then) Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu. He later became Cardinal Aramburu's personal secretary before returning to Rome to continue his studies and entering into the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1974.
As a junior diplomat, he served in the nunciatures in Madagascar and Mauritius, in the Secretariat of State in Rome, and in the nunciature of the United States of America. He returned to Rome in 1992 to take the position of Assessor of the Secretariat of State for general affairs.
He was consecrated a bishop on 11 October 1997 by Angelo Cardinal Sodano in St Peter's Basilica, with the titual see of Cittanova, and was named Papal Nuncio in Venezuala. He later became Papal Nuncio to Mexico in 2000 and was named Sostituto for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State on 16 September 2000.
It was Monsignor Sandri who read the messages of Pope John Paul II when the Holy Father became too ill to read them himself; and it was Monsignor Sandri who announced the Supreme Pontiff's death to the world in St Peter's Square on 2 April 2005.
He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Oriential Churches on 9 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, and made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at the Consistory of 24 November 2007.
He speaks Spanish, Italian, French, English and German.