The cardinal has served as Vatican Secretary of State since 2013 and as a member of the Council of Cardinals since 2014.
He was ordained a priest of the Italian Diocese of Vicenza in 1980. He was consecrated a bishop in 2009, when he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela.
As Secretary of State, he has overseen the Holy See's rapprochement with China and traveled widely on behalf of Pope Francis.
The Secretariat of State, long regarded as the Vatican's most powerful department, has been shaken by a series of financial scandals in recent years. In August, the pope wrote to Parolin, explaining that he had decided to transfer responsibility for financial funds and real estate assets away from the Secretariat.
Although the coronavirus crisis has restricted his travels this year, Parolin has continued to make high-profile speeches, often delivered via video.
In September, he addressed the UN General Assembly on the 75th anniversary of its founding and also spoke about religious freedom alongside U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a symposium in Rome organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.