Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President emeritus of the Governorate of Vatican City State, was born on 3 January 1935 in Novara, Italy. He was ordained a priest on 29 April 1960 and holds licentiates in theology and philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a doctorate in canon law from the Kanonistiches Institut of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Monaco, Germany.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1970 and served at the nunciature in Germany. In November 1974 he was called to Rome and served on the Council for Public Affairs of the Church.
On 3 October 1988, he was appointed titular Archbishop of Caesariana and secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. He was ordained a bishop on 6 January 1989. On 7 December 1995, he was appointed apostolic nuncio in Germany and concluded some diplomatic accords with the Länder.
He was then appointed secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State on 7 October 2003, and in September 2004 and 2006 he represented the Holy See at the general assembly of the United Nations.
President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President of the Governorate of Vatican City State (15 September 2006 - 1 October 2011).
He participated in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio (St. Mary Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio), Diaconry elevated pro hac vice to Presbyteral title (19 May 2018).