Famous 16th Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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 1 
Kabir
(Saint and Mystic Poet)
Kabir
8
Birthdate: 1440 AD
Birthplace: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1518 AD

Kabir was an Indian saint and mystic poet whose works influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement, which in turn played a key role in the formation of Sikhism, the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Kabir is an important figure in both Hinduism and Islam and his legacy continues to live through a religious community known as the Kabir panth.

 2 
Francis Xavier
(Missionary)
Francis Xavier
6
Birthdate: April 7, 1506
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Javier, Spain
Died: December 3, 1552
Navarrese Catholic missionary and saint Francis Xavier co-founded the Society of Jesus. His mission focused on the Portuguese Empire in Asia. He is remembered for his efforts to spread Christianity in Goa. He extended his mission to Japan and Borneo but died before he could preach in China.
 3 
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
(Founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism)
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
5
Birthdate: February 18, 1484
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Navadvipa, India
Died: June 14, 1534

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a 15th-century Indian saint. Some of his disciples consider him to be the combined avatar of Radha and Krishna. His mode of worship characterized by ecstatic song and dance rituals had a deep influence on Vaishnavism in Bengal. He expounded Bhakti yoga and founded Gaudiya Vaishnavism. His birthday is celebrated as Gaura-Purnima by his disciples.  

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 4 
Guru Nanak Dev Ji
(Founder of Sikhism)
Guru Nanak Dev Ji
6
Birthdate: April 15, 1469
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
Died: September 22, 1539

Guru Nanak was the founder of one of the most popular monotheistic religions of the Indian subcontinent, Sikhism. Widely regarded as the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, Nanak contributed 974 hymns to the religion's sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak is worshipped by Sikhs around the world and his birth is celebrated as Guru Nanak Gurpurab.

 5 
Desiderius Erasmus
(Dutch Philosopher and Catholic Theologian Who is Considered One of the Greatest Scholars of the Northern Renaissance)
Desiderius Erasmus
4
Birthdate: October 28, 1466
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: July 12, 1536

Born as an illegitimate child of a priest from Rotterdam, Desiderius Erasmus later grew up to be a significant figure of the northern Renaissance. He is remembered for his research on free will and for being the first to edit the New Testament, replacing traditional elements with new-age humanism.

 6 
Pope Leo X
5
Birthdate: December 11, 1475
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: December 1, 1521
Son of Lorenzo the Magnificent and part of the Medici banking family of Florence, Giovanni de’ Medici, was tonsured at 7, as a mark of his entry into ecclesiastical life. He took over as Pope Leo X after Julius II’s death. An art connoisseur, he was a true Renaissance pope.
 7 
Pope Clement VII
4
Birthdate: May 26, 1478
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: September 25, 1534

Pope Clement VII was head of the Catholic Church from 1523 to 1534. He also served as the ruler of the Papal States and is considered the most unfortunate of the popes as his reign was marked by military, political, and religious struggles. Despite his troubled papacy, Pope Clement left a remarkable cultural legacy, having commissioned artworks by personalities like Michelangelo.

 8 
Pope Julius II
4
Birthdate: December 5, 1443
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Albisola Superiore, Italy
Died: February 21, 1513

Pope Julius II served as the ruler of the Papal States and head of the Catholic Church from 1503 until his death in 1513. One of the most influential and powerful popes, Julius II left a significant political and cultural legacy. He commissioned a series of architecture and art projects, which beautified and improved the city to a great extent.

 9 
John of the Cross
(16th Century Spanish Catholic Priest Who was a Major Figure of Counter-Reformation in Spain)
John of the Cross
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1542
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fontiveros, Spain
Died: December 14, 1591

John of the Cross was a Spanish Catholic priest, mystic, and Carmelite friar. One of the 36 Doctors of the Church, he is a major figure of the Counter-Reformation in Spain. He was a prolific writer and poet, and his writings are counted among the greatest works of all Spanish literature. He was beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X.

 10 
Pope Alexander VI
6
Birthdate: January 1, 1431
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Játiva, Spain
Died: August 18, 1503

Pope Alexander VI served as the pope from 1492 to 1503. Due to his involvement with several mistresses, Alexander is regarded as one of the most controversial popes of the Renaissance. However, during his papacy, a new architectural era surfaced in Rome as he encouraged the development of fine arts; famous personalities like Pinturicchio, Raphael, and Michelangelo worked for him.

 11 
Pope Paul III
(Head of the Catholic Church (1534 - 1549))
Pope Paul III
3
Birthdate: February 29, 1468
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Canino, Italy
Died: November 10, 1549

Alessandro Farnese, who later came to be known as Pope Paul III, was the last Renaissance pope and the first pope who belonged to the Counter-Reformation era. A patron of the arts, he commissioned legendary painter Michelangelo to paint frescoes in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican.

 12 
Reginald Pole
(Archbishop of Canterbury)
Reginald Pole
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1500
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stourton Castle, England
Died: November 17, 1558

Roman Catholic cardinal Reginald Pole had been the archbishop of Canterbury. Half of his education expenses was covered by fellowships from King Henry VII. A prominent member of the government under Mary Tudor, he re-established many monasteries and also let the burnings of Protestants continue.

 13 
Juan Diego
(Saint)
Juan Diego
3
Birthdate: 1474 AD
Birthplace: Cuautitlan, Mexico
Died: May 30, 1548
 14 
Pope Gregory XIII
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1502
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: April 10, 1585
Saint Teresa of Avila
0
Birthdate: March 28, 1515
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gotarrendura
Died: October 4, 1582

Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who later turned into a Carmelite nun. She was posthumously named a Doctor of the Church. She co-established the Discalced Carmelite Order. Her written works include The Interior Castle and her own autobiography.

 16 
Pope Pius V
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1504
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bosco Marengo, Italy
Died: May 1, 1572
 17 
Guru Arjan
(Fifth Sikh Guru)
Guru Arjan
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1563
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Goindwal Sahib, India
Died: May 30, 1606
 18 
Vincent de Paul
(Catholic priest)
Vincent de Paul
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1581
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, France
Died: September 27, 1660

Vincent de Paul was a 17th-century Catholic saint who established the Congregation of the Mission, whose followers are also known as Lazarists, or Vincentians. Known for his charity toward the peasant community and the poor, he also formed associations of women who helped and nursed the sick.

 19 
Pope Adrian VI
(Former Head of the Catholic Church and Ruler of the Papal States (1522 - 1523))
Pope Adrian VI
4
Birthdate: March 2, 1459
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: September 14, 1523

Sixteenth-century pope Adrian VI remains the only Dutch to have been a pope and was the last non-Italian pope till John Paul II’s election after over 400 years. He wished to reform the Church but wasn’t able to do much, as he was strongly opposed by many, including Italian cardinals.

 20 
Ravidas
(Poet)
Ravidas
3
Birthdate: 1377 AD
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Died: 1520 AD

Ravidas was an Indian mystic, social reformer, poet-saint, and spiritual figure. An influential personality, Ravidas taught his followers to disregard social divisions of gender and caste that were prevalent in India at that time. The Ravidassia sect, a religious sect of Vaishnavism, is based on Ravidas' teachings. Ravidas is revered even today as a saint by his followers.

 21 
Guru Hargobind
(Sikh Guru)
Guru Hargobind
4
Birthdate: June 19, 1595
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amritsar, India
Died: March 19, 1644
 22 
Pope Urban VIII
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1568
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: July 29, 1644
 23 
Pope Innocent X
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1574
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: January 7, 1655
 24 
Pope Paul IV
3
Birthdate: June 28, 1476
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Capriglia Irpina, Italy
Died: August 18, 1559
 25 
Guru Ram Das
(Fourth Sikh Guru)
Guru Ram Das
3
Birthdate: September 24, 1534
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan
Died: September 1, 1581
 26 
Pope Sixtus V
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1521
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grottammare, Italy
Died: August 27, 1590
 27 
Aloysius Gonzaga
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1568
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy
Died: June 21, 1591
 28 
Pope Clement VIII
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1536
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fano, Italy
Died: March 3, 1605
 29 
Pope Pius IV
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1499
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: December 9, 1565
 30 
James Ussher
(Archbishop)
James Ussher
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1581
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: March 21, 1656
 31 
Aḥmad Grāñ
(Somalian Muslim leader)
Aḥmad Grāñ
3
Birthdate: 1506 AD
Birthplace: Saylac, Somalia
Died: February 21, 1543
 32 
Hugh Latimer
(Bishop)
Hugh Latimer
3
Birthdate: 1487 AD
Birthplace: Thurcaston, Leicestershire, England
Died: October 16, 1555

Born to a yeoman farmer, Hugh Latimer later studied at the University of Cambridge and became a Roman Catholic preacher. However, he later converted to Protestantism and became a major figure of the Reformation in England. He was burned at the stake after Mary Tudor took over the throne.

 33 
Pope Paul V
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1550
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: January 28, 1621
 34 
Guru Angad
(Sikh Guru)
Guru Angad
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1504
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sri Muktsar Sahib, India
Died: March 28, 1552
 35 
Guru Amar Das
(Sikh Guru)
Guru Amar Das
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1479
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Punjab, India)
Died: September 1, 1574
 36 
Pope Urban VII
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1521
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 27, 1590
 37 
Angela Merici
(Educator)
Angela Merici
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1474
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Desenzano del Garda, Italy
Died: January 27, 1540
 38 
Louise de Marillac
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1591
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Le Meux, Oise, France
Died: March 15, 1660
 39 
Pope Julius III
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1487
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Monte San Savino, Italy
Died: March 23, 1555
 40 
Diego de Landa
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1524
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cifuentes, Alcarria, Spain
Died: April 29, 1579

Spanish priest Diego de Landa was one of the most significant Mayan researchers. A Franciscan missionary to Mexico, he initially helped the Mayan people through his charitable efforts and conversions. However, he later inflicted a lot of torture and brutality on them and also burned most of the Mayan manuscripts.

Raghavendra Swami
3
Birthdate: 1595 AD
Birthplace: Bhuvanagiri
Died: 1671 AD
 42 
Pope Gregory XV
2
Birthdate: January 9, 1554
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 8, 1623
 43 
John Smyth
(British Baptist Minister and Theologian)
John Smyth
3
Birthdate: 1554 AD
Birthplace: Nottinghamshire, England
Died: August 28, 1612

Also known as the "Se-baptist," or "self-baptizer," John Smyth is considered the pioneer of the Baptist faith in England. Initially a city preacher in Lincoln, he later joined a group of separatists who believed in believer’s baptism, as opposed to infant baptism, and thus formed the branch of Baptist Christianity.

 44 
Pope Marcellus II
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1501
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montefano, Italy
Died: May 1, 1555
 45 
Pope Innocent IX
2
Birthdate: July 20, 1519
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: December 30, 1591
 46 
Catherine of Genoa
2
Birthdate: April 5, 1447
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: September 15, 1510
 47 
Jan Matthys
(Charismatic Anabaptist Leader of the Münster Rebellion)
Jan Matthys
2
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: April 5, 1534

Initially a baker in Harlem, Jan Matthys later rose up to become a prominent leader of the Münster Rebellion. As an Anabaptist leader, he met opposition to conversion with strict resistance. His war against Franz von Waldeck resulted in him being killed and his head stuck on a pike.

 48 
Takuan Sōhō
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1573
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tajima, Japan
Died: December 27, 1645
 49 
Alessandro Valignano
2
Birthdate: February 15, 1539
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chieti, Italy
Died: January 20, 1606
 50 
Altan Khan
(Chief)
Altan Khan
2
Birthdate: 1507 AD
Birthplace: Mongolia
Died: 1582 AD