VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has named Italian Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli to be the new Vatican nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine.

The 64-year-old Vatican diplomat succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, who retired in August at the age of 75. He had served in the Holy Land for five years.


Archbishop Girelli moves to the Middle East from Singapore, where he served as apostolic nuncio and simultaneously held the post of nonresident papal representative to Vietnam.

Born in Predore, Italy, March 13, 1953, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 for the Diocese of Bergamo. He entered the diplomat service of the Holy See in 1987, working at Vatican nunciatures in Cameroon and New Zealand before taking up a post in the Vatican Secretariat of State. He then moved to Washington to serve at the apostolic nunciature to the United States.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named him an archbishop and nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor. In 2011, he was transferred to Singapore.