Famous 21st Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders
 1 
Dalai Lama
(Spiritual Leader of Tibet and 14th Dalai Lama)
Dalai Lama
17
Birthdate: July 6, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Taktser, Tibet
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is known for his advocacy for peace in Tibet and has won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. He belongs to a lineage of reincarnations of Avalokiteśvara. He fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion and formed a Tibetan government in exile.
 2 
Pope Francis
(Pope, Head of the Catholic church (Since 2013))
Pope Francis
16
Birthdate: December 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Flores, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pope Francis is the sovereign of the Vatican City and head of the Catholic Church. He is the first Jesuit pope and first non-European pope since Pope Gregory III. Often praised for having a comparatively less formal approach, Pope Francis is popular for his humility, international visibility, and concern for the poor.

 3 
Billy Graham
(Evangelist)
Billy Graham
6
Birthdate: November 7, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Died: February 21, 2018
Billy Graham was an evangelist and an ordained SBC minister. He had been on Gallup's list of the 10 most admired men 61 times. He broadcast his sermons through radio and TV, and organized annual "Crusades,” or evangelistic campaigns. He owned several media outlets and advised many U.S. presidents. 
Recommended Lists:
 4 
Eckhart Tolle
(Spiritual Teacher and Self-Help Author Known for His Works ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’)
Eckhart Tolle
8
Birthdate: February 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lünen, Germany
Spiritual and self-help writer Eckhart Tolle is best known for his bestselling books The Power of Now and A New Earth. He collaborated with Oprah Winfrey, appearing in 10 live webinars and was also named to Oprah’s SuperSoul 100. He also launched Eckhart Teachings and the website Eckhart Tolle TV.
 5 
Jaggi Vasudev
(Yoga Guru)
Jaggi Vasudev
21
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mysore, Karnataka, India

The recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India, Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic, yogi, and author.  His spiritual program called inner engineering is famous all over the world, particularly in the Western world. Popularly known as Sadhguru, Jaggi Vasudev's yoga programs, environmental initiatives, and educational and social initiatives have earned him celebrity status in India.

 6 
Ram Dass
(Spiritual Teacher)
Ram Dass
5
Birthdate: April 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: December 22, 2019

Ram Dass was an American spiritual teacher and psychologist. Born as Richard Alpert in Boston, he embraced Hinduism on a visit to India and changed his name. He traveled extensively, giving talks, and authored or co-authored many books on spirituality. He also founded the charitable organizations, Seva Foundation, and Hanuman Foundation. He was openly bisexual.

 7 
Thich Nhat Hanh
(Buddhist monk and peace activist who has founded dozens of schools and universities and has published over 100 books.)
Thich Nhat Hanh
4
Birthdate: October 11, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Huế, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, French Indochina
 8 
Louis Farrakhan
(Singer, Civil rights advocate, Religious servant, Journalist, Politician, Violinist, Anti-vaccine activist, Muslim minister)
Louis Farrakhan
9
Birthdate: May 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Louis Farrakhan, formerly known as Louis X, is the leader of the ‘Nation of Islam’ which has been called a black nationalist organisation and a hate group. He has been described as anti-Semitic by monitoring organisations and has been accused of promoting anti-white theology and black superiority over whites. He was banned from Facebook in 2019 for being an extremist.

 9 
Charles Stanley
(Pastor, Radio personality)
Charles Stanley
6
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Pastor of the First Baptist Church Charles Stanley had also established In Touch Ministries. A born-again Christian since age 12, he later gained fame with his show In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, which was translated into 107 languages. He has also penned countless books on religion.
 10 
Russell M. Nelson
(Religious Leader, Surgeon)
Russell M. Nelson
5
Birthdate: September 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Russell M. Nelson is an American religious leader and the current president of the Mormon Church. A former surgeon, Nelson is credited with co-developing the heart-lung machine, which was used in the first-ever open-heart surgery. He became a respected heart surgeon and went on to serve as the president of the Utah Medical Association before becoming a religious leader.

 11 
T. B. Joshua
(Televangelist, Faith Healer)
T. B. Joshua
7
Birthdate: June 12, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arigidi, Nigeria
Died: June 5, 2021

Nigerian charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist T. B. Joshua is the founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN). He is extremely popular across Africa and Latin America, and his YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, has over a million subscribers. He is considered one of the most influential people from Africa and is the recipient of several awards. 

 12 
Pope Benedict XVI
(Pope, Head of the Catholic church (2005-13))
Pope Benedict XVI
15
Birthdate: April 16, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Markit, Germany
Pope Benedict XVI started off as a Hitler Youth member, but a finger injury prevented him from fighting in the German army. In 2005, he became the head of the Catholic Church. The liberal theologian-turned-conservative resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so since the 1400s.
 13 
Stella Immanuel
(Physician, writer)
Stella Immanuel
10
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon
Thomas S. Monson
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died: January 2, 2018
Thomas S. Monson was an American author and religious leader who served as the president of the Mormon Church from 2008 to 2018. Many adherents of the religion considered him to be a prophet, especially during his presidency. During his career, Monson received several honors, including the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
 15 
Bernice King
(Minister)
Bernice King
8
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Bernice King is an American minister best known as the daughter of the popular activist and leader Martin Luther King Jr. Over the years, Barnice King has supported many noble causes for which she has been honored with several awards. In 2009, she was honored at the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Convention for her service to women.

Rick Warren
6
Birthdate: January 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

Rick Warren is an American pastor. He is credited with establishing Saddleback Church, one of the largest in the USA, where he serves as the senior pastor. Also an influential author, Warren's bible study book The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies, making him one of the bestselling authors in the USA.

 17 
David Miscavige
(Leader of the Church of Scientology)
David Miscavige
13
Birthdate: April 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, United States

David Miscavige is the current leader of the Church of Scientology. After serving as a deputy to L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church, Miscavige took on the mantle of leadership after the former's demise. Miscavige is credited with establishing the Religious Technology Center to control and supervise the use of texts, symbols, and trademarks of Scientology and Dianetics.

 18 
Mother Angelica
5
Birthdate: April 20, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, United States
Died: March 27, 2016

Born to Italian parents, amid poverty, in Ohio, Mother Angelica and her siblings were raised by her mother after her father abandoned them. Initially a factory worker, she later became a Poor Clare nun and also founded the Eternal Word Television Network, which streamed Catholic-oriented programs.

 19 
Rowan Douglas Williams
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales

Rowan Douglas Williams became the first archbishop of Canterbury who was not from the Church of England. The Welsh Anglican bishop has been quite liberal in his views on homosexuality. He has also taught theology courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and is a life peer.

 20 
Don Miguel Ruiz
4
Birthdate: August 26, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mexico

Best known for his influence on the New Thought movement, Don Miguel Ruiz is a Mexican author who has penned the bestselling Toltec Wisdom Series. Initially a neurosurgeon, he changed his course after a near-fatal accident and became a shaman. He now studies the spiritual aspect of the human mind.

 21 
Aga Khan IV
(49th Imam of Nizari Ismaili Shia Islam )
Aga Khan IV
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

Aga Khan IV is the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism. Serving as the imam since 1957, Aga Khan claims to be a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Apart from being the current leader of the Institution of the Imamate, Aga Khan is also a business magnate and one of the world's richest royals, according to Forbes.

 22 
Ramdev
(Yoga Guru)
Ramdev
30
Birthdate: December 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mahendragarh
 23 
Zinovia Dushkova
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kongaz, Moldova

Zinovia Dushkova is a Russian poet, historian, philosopher, and author. A prominent writer, Dushkova's works have been translated into seven languages. In 2015, she was honored with the 20 Years of Gagauzia Medal. In 2017, Zinovia Dushkova’s book, The Call of the Heart, was honored at the Nautilus Book Awards with a silver medal in the United States of America.

 24 
Ali Khamenei
(Supreme Leader of Iran)
Ali Khamenei
8
Birthdate: July 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mashhad
Ali Khamenei has been serving as the supreme leader of Iran since 1989 and has previously been its president. He is one of the co-founders of the Islamic Republic Party and led his country during the Iran–Iraq War. His reign has also seen extreme treatment of journalists and protestors.
Bartholomew I of Constantinople
4
Birthdate: February 29, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zeytinliköy, Turkey
 26 
Enoch Adeboye
6
Birthdate: March 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ifewara, Osun State, Nigeria

Better known as Daddy Go, Nigerian pastor Enoch Adeboye serves the Redeemed Christian Church of God and has millions of followers. However, the media has often called out his sexist attitude, reflected in his social-media posts, one of which advised men to marry only women who could cook.

 27 
Gaur Gopal Das
(Spiritual Leader, Motivational Speaker)
Gaur Gopal Das
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Maharashtra

Gaur Gopal Das is an Indian lifestyle coach and motivational speaker. An alumnus of the College of Engineering, Pune, he worked as an engineer for several years before joining the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He is the author of Life's Amazing Secrets and has millions of followers on YouTube.  

 28 
Justin Welby
(105th Archbishop of Canterbury and the Most Senior Bishop in the Church of England)
Justin Welby
4
Birthdate: January 6, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

Justin Welby is the most senior bishop in the Church of England and the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. In the past, he was the vicar of Southam, Warwickshire, and has also been the bishop of Durham. He is known for exploring the evangelical tradition within Anglicanism in his theology. He worked in the oil industry before his ordination. 

 29 
Yusuf Estes
(American Muslim Preacher & Founder of Guide US TV)
Yusuf Estes
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Texas, United States
Yusuf Estes, a Muslim convert, is a popular Islamic speaker. He has also served as a delegate to the United Nations World Peace Conference for Religious Leaders in 2000. Estes now travels around the world and gives lectures on topics relating to Islam. He has served as a guest presenter at various Islamic events and frequently appears on various Islamic TV channels.
 30 
Prem Rawat
(Writer)
Prem Rawat
3
Birthdate: December 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Indian-American public speaker and bestselling author Prem Rawat, son of an Indian guru who founded Divine Light Mission, pioneered the technique of meditation known as "peace education" and "knowledge." He often pilots his own private jet to preach his messages to various countries and has also launched a charitable foundation.

 31 
Roch Thériault
(Religious leader)
Roch Thériault
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
Died: February 26, 2011
Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais
5
Birthdate: February 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Riyadh
 33 
Shmuley Boteach
(Writer, Theologian, Rabbi)
Shmuley Boteach
4
Birthdate: November 19, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Orthodox rabbi and author Shmuley Boteach, also known as the host of Shalom in the Home, soared to international fame with the release of his book Kosher Sex. The father of nine was a spiritual advisor to Michael Jackson and has founded the pro-Israel non-profit The World Values Network.

 34 
David Jeremiah
(Evangelist, Founder of 'Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries' and Senior Pastor of 'Shadow Mountain Community Church')
David Jeremiah
4
Birthdate: February 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States

David Jeremiah is an American evangelical Christian author. He is credited with founding Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries which focuses on propagating his sermons through radio and TV. The Turning Point program has earned him many awards including the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters award. David Jeremiah also serves as a senior pastor at the Shadow Mountain Community Church.

 35 
Mohammed Yusuf
(Nigerian Terrorist Who Founded the Islamic Terrorist Group ‘Boko Haram’)
Mohammed Yusuf
3
Birthdate: January 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yobe, Nigeria
Died: July 30, 2009
 36 
John Sentamu
(Politician, Priest, Cleric)
John Sentamu
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kampala

Born in Uganda, John Sentamu was a Supreme Court lawyer in his country before he fled to the U.K., having faced jail for criticizing President Idi Amin. He later devoted himself to theology and became the Archbishop of York, thus also becoming first black Archbishop of Britain.

 37 
Nazim Al-Haqqani
(Religious leader)
Nazim Al-Haqqani
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Larnaca, Cyprus
Died: May 7, 2014
Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria
3
Birthdate: November 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mansoura, Egypt

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria is the 118th and current pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He became leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria succeeding late Pope Shenouda III. He began his papacy amidst several changes in Egypt and supported the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état that deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. 

 39 
Timothy M. Dolan
(Theologian, University teacher, Catholic priest)
Timothy M. Dolan
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Louis

The archbishop of New York, Timothy M. Dolan has previously also served as the archbishop of Milwaukee. He has also penned several religious books, such as Doers of the Word and Called to Be Holy. He was also assigned with the task of handling cases of priests engaging in sexual abuse.

 40 
Abdalqadir as-Sufi
(Leader of the Darqawi Sufi Order and Founder of the Murabitun World Movement)
Abdalqadir as-Sufi
3
Birthdate: 1930 AD
Birthplace: Ayr, Scotland
Died: August 1, 2021

Abdalqadir as-Sufi was a Scottish playwright and actor who dedicated his life to popularize Islam after converting to the religion in 1967. He helped establish the Jumu'a Mosque of Cape Town, the Great Mosque of Granada, and the Ihsan Mosque in England. Abdalqadir as-Sufi is also credited with founding the Murabitun World Movement, which aims at restoring several Islam practices.

 41 
Pietro Parolin
(Cardinal)
Pietro Parolin
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Schiavon, Veneto, Italy
 42 
Carlo Maria Viganò
(Italian Catholic Archbishop Who Accused Pope Francis for Covering Up a Sex Scandal)
Carlo Maria Viganò
3
Birthdate: January 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Varese, Italy
 43 
Ali al-Sistani
(Theologian, Akhoond)
Ali al-Sistani
4
Birthdate: August 4, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mashhad
 44 
Gene Robinson
(Former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire)
Gene Robinson
3
Birthdate: May 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States

Gene Robinson is an American former bishop associated with the Episcopal Church. Gene Robinson is renowned for being the first openly gay man to be consecrated as a bishop in a prominent Christian denomination. His life and career have been the subject of articles in print media and films.

 45 
Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah
(Political figure)
Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Najaf, Iraq
Died: July 4, 2010
 46 
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
(Religious Leader and Head of the Group 'DSS', Who Was Convicted of Rape and Murder)
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
41
Birthdate: August 15, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sri Gurusar Modia, Rajasthan, India

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is an Indian social group leader best known as the head of a group named Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS). Prior to his rape conviction in 2017, Ram Rahim was a famous religious leader, music composer, actor, singer, songwriter, writer, and director. In 2015, he was named among the 100 most powerful Indians by The Indian Express.

 47 
Mohammad Tawhidi
(Australian Shia Muslim Influencer, Reformist Imam)
Mohammad Tawhidi
0
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: Qom, Iran
 48 
J. Z. Knight
(Psychic, Writer)
J. Z. Knight
4
Birthdate: March 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Roswell

American mystic and spiritual author J. Z. Knight claims she had channelized a spirit she calls Ramtha. She founded the Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, where she teaches Ramtha’s preachings, though she has courted controversy for her anti-semitic, homophobic, and unscientific comments. She believes Ramtha heals better than medicine.

 49 
Wilton D. Gregory
(Religious leader)
Wilton D. Gregory
5
Birthdate: December 7, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

Wilton D. Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, is widely known as the first African-American cardinal. He had aspired to become a priest even before being baptized at age 11. One of his greatest contributions was his efforts to counter incidents of child sex abuse within the church.

 50 
Bob Larson
(Television evangelist)
Bob Larson
4
Birthdate: May 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Westwood

Bob Larson is an American television and radio evangelist. Larson, who serves as a pastor at the Spiritual Freedom Church in Arizona, has written several books criticizing Satanism and rock music. He is also renowned for performing exorcisms over Skype and on calls.