H.E. Fernando Cardinal Filoni was born on 15 April 1946 in Manduria, Italy.
He was ordained a priest on 3 July 1970 and holds doctorates in philosophy and in canon law. He also holds a diploma in public opinion sciences and techniques, specializing in journalism. While in Rome, he served as assistant pastor and taught in local high schools.
In 1981, he entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See and served in Sri Lanka, Iran and Brazil. In 1992, he was sent to the Philippines, but with residence in Hong Kong, where the Holy See had opened a Mission of Study to follow the situation of the church in China in a moment of social and religious changes.
On 17 January 2001, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq and in Jordan. He received episcopal ordination on 19 March 2001. He stayed at his post until March 2006 when he was transferred to the Philippines.
On 9 June 2007 he was appointed Substitute of the Secretariat of State. On 10 May 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He was appointed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 18 February 2012. He chose as his episcopal motto Lumen Gentium Christus. “Christ, Light of the nations”.
- Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Oriental Churches, for Catholic Education; for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
- Pontifical Councils: for Inter-religious Dialogue; for Legislative Texts.
In 2008, he was awarded a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The Holy Father appointed him Grand Master of the Order on 8 December, 2019.