WASHINGTON (December 17, 2005) — Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Pietro Sambi, up to now Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Sambi succeeds Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who has held the post since 1998.
The announcement was made by the Holy See and in this country by Archbishop Montalvo on December 17.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi was born June 27, 1938, in Sogliano sul Rubicone, Forli, Italy. He was incardinated in the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro and ordained a priest on March 14, 1964. He has a Doctorate in Sacred Theology and in Canon Law.
He started his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See in April, 1969, in Cameroon.
He was transferred to the Apostolic Nunciature in Jerusalem on July 19, 1971, and subsequently to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Cuba in 1974, in Algeria in 1978, in Nicaragua in 1979, in Belgium in 1981, and then in India in May, 1984 with the rank of Counselor.
Archbishop Sambi was consecrated as Bishop and made Titular Archbishop of Belcastro on November 9, 1985.
He was nominated Pro-Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi on October 10, 1985, Pro-Apostolic Nuncio in Indonesia on November 28, 1991, and Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Cyprus, and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine on June 6, 1998.
Archbishop Sambi speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.
A Nuncio represents the Holy Father to both the hierarchy and Church of a particular nation and to that nation's civil government.
In a statement welcoming the appointment, Bishop William S. Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said:
"The Bishops of the United States are pleased that the Holy Father has honored the Church in our country with the appointment of a Nuncio with an extraordinary life of service to the Church in many areas of the world. Archbishop Sambi is very well known to the presidents and to many members of our episcopal conference because of our strong engagement with and support of the Church in the Holy Land over the years. We look forward to working with Archbishop Sambi and we are most grateful to Archbishop Montalvo for the great contributions he has made to the Church during the past seven years."