Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop of Riga, Latvia, was born on November 14, 1930 in the Nautrani district of Latvia. After finishing the Rezekne secondary school he attended the Catholic Theological Seminary and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Riga on March 29, 1951.
He engaged in pastoral work mainly in Riga parishes, while teaching art history and liturgy at the Catholic Theological Seminary. Under his leadership the liturgical reform decreed by the Second Vatican Council was put into effect and new liturgical books were published.
From 1979 to 1984 he served as Vicar General in the Metropolitan Curia. In 1984 he was declared a persona non grata by the KGB and had to return to parish work.
He was appointed Archbishop of Riga on May 8, 1991 and received episcopal consecration on June 1. He is also served as President of the Latvian Bishops' Conference and speaks Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, German and Latin in addition to his native Latvian.
Created Cardinal and reserved "in pectore" by John Paul II in the consistory of February 12, 1998; proclaimed in the consistory of February 21, 2001, of the Title of S. Silvia (St. Sylvia).