Cardinal Audrys Juozas Ba?kis, Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, was born on February 1, 1937 in Kaunas, Lithuania. He grew up in France, where his father was a foreign service officer at the Lithuanian Legation, Paris. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Kaunas on March 18, 1961 and holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
He entered the Holy See's diplomatic service in 1964 and was posted to the Philippines, Costa Rica, Turkey, Nigeria and the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. He was the Council's Undersecretary from 1979 to 1988.
On August 5, 1988 he was appointed titular Archbishop of Meta and Apostolic Nuncio in The Netherlands, receiving episcopal ordination on October 4.
On December 24, 1991 he was named Archbishop of Vilnius.
He was elected President of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference in 1993 and served until 1999 and, then again, in 2002 until 2005.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 2001, of the Title of Natività di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo in Via Gallia (Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Via Gallia).
Congregation for Catholic Education;
Pontifical Council for Social Communications;
Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church;
Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.