Cardinal Priest of S Benedetto fuori Porta S Paolo (Deaconry raised pro hac vice)
Born in Brisighella, Emilia Romagna, on October 25, 1923, Silvestrini entered the Seminary of Faenza at 19. He was ordained on July 13, 1946. He was sent to Rome to continue his studies and graduated from the Vatican Diplomatic Academy in 1952. In 1953, he joined on the diplomatic service in the Section for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, concentrating on the problems of Southeast Asia. Between 1958 and 1969 Silvestrini worked with Vatican Secretaries of State Domenico Tardini and Amletto Cicognani, often serving as head of the Holy See delegations to United Nations conferences and for the drafting of international treaties. On May 4, 1979, Silvestrini was appointed Secretary of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church and was promoted to Archbishop of Novaliciana. Elevated to the cardinalate during the Consistory of June 28, 1988 by John Paul II, he has been the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches since May 24, 1991.