Cardinal Audrys Backis, the retired Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, celebrated his 80th birthday on February 1. By reason of age, he is no longer eligible to participate in a papal conclave.
Although he was born in Lithuania, the future cardinal lived in exile
with his family as a child.
After ordination to the priesthood he
worked as a Vatican diplomat. With the fall of the Soviet empire he was
named Archbishop of Vilnius, where he led the revival of the Catholic
Church after the Communist era.
He was raised to the College of
Cardinals by St. John Paul II in 2001, and retired in 2013 at the age of
There are now 226 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom
119 are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a papal election.