Famous 21st Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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

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 1 Pope Francis

Pope Francis.
13
Birthdate: December 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: 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.

 2 Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev.
15
Famous As: Yoga Guru
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.

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 3 Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle.
4
Famous As: Spiritual Speaker & Author
Birthdate: February 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lünen
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.

 4 Stella Immanuel

Stella Immanuel.
6
Famous As: Physician, writer
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

 5 Ram Dass

Ram Dass.
4
Famous As: Spiritual Teacher
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.

 6 T. B. Joshua

T. B. Joshua.
4
Famous As: Televangelist, Faith Healer
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. 

 7 Russell M. Nelson

Russell M. Nelson.
4
Famous As: Religious Leader, Surgeon
Birthdate: September 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah

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.

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 8 Kent Hovind

Kent Hovind
4
Famous As: Evangelist
Birthdate: January 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States

Kent Hovind is an American tax protester and evangelist. He is credited with establishing Creation Science Evangelism (CSE), which aims at propagating creationism. A controversial personality, Hovind was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2007 for failing to pay taxes, structuring cash transactions, and obstructing federal agents.

 9 Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 26, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mexico

 10 Zinovia Dushkova

Zinovia Dushkova
3
Famous As: Writer
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.

 11 Gaur Gopal Das

Gaur Gopal Das.
4
Famous As: Spiritual Leader, Motivational Speaker
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.  

 12 Rowan Douglas Williams

Rowan Douglas Williams.
3
Famous As: Theologian
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.

 13 Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica
3
Famous As: Nun
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.

 14 Leigh Taylor-Young

Leigh Taylor-Young.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Actor Leigh Taylor-Young had initially studied economics, before switching to theater. After gaining fame with the soap Peyton Place, she delivered a Golden Globe-winning performance in the film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. She also won an Emmy for her role in the series Picket Fences.

 15 Robert Jeffress

Robert Jeffress
3
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: November 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texas

Best known as a senior pastor of the Dallas-based First Baptist Church, Robert Jeffress is also a major Fox News contributor. He boasts of multiple theological degrees and is married to his high-school sweetheart, Amy. He has reached millions through his religious program Pathway to Victory.

 16 Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
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Famous As: Actor
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.

 17 Carlo Maria Viganò

Carlo Maria Viganò
3
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: January 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Varese, Italy

 18 Prem Rawat

Prem Rawat
3
Famous As: Writer
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.

 19 Bartholomew I of Constantinople

Bartholomew I of Constantinople
3
Famous As: Archbishop
Birthdate: February 29, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zeytinliköy, Turkey

 20 Roch Thériault

Roch Thériault
4
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: February 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
Died: February 26, 2011

 21 Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami
3
Famous As: Spiritual Leader
Birthdate: December 7, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Radhanath Swami is an American activist, author, community-builder, and spiritual teacher. He is credited with inspiring ISKCON's free midday meal program, which benefits more than a million school kids across India. He also played a major role in establishing the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in India. He is much revered among ISKCON devotees for his immense contribution as a spiritual teacher.

 22 Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria
3
Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: November 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mansoura, Egypt

 23 Mohammed Yusuf

Mohammed Yusuf
3
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: January 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yobe, Nigeria
Died: July 30, 2009

 24 J. C. Watts

J. C. Watts
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 18, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eufaula, Oklahoma, United States

J. C. Watts is an American politician, athlete, and clergyman. A multi-talented man, Watts played professional football in the Canadian Football League. From 1995 to 2003, he served as a Republican in the United States House of Representatives, representing Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District. 

 25 Pietro Parolin

Pietro Parolin
3
Famous As: Cardinal
Birthdate: January 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Schiavon, Veneto, Italy

 26 Nazim Al-Haqqani

Nazim Al-Haqqani
3
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: April 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Larnaca, Cyprus
Died: May 7, 2014

 27 Gene Robinson

Gene Robinson
3
Famous As: Bishop
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.

 28 John Dominic Crossan

John Dominic Crossan
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 17, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland

Irish-American theologian John Dominic Crossan, who has previously been a Roman Catholic priest, was also associated with the Jesus Seminar. It is believed, he had quit Catholic priesthood to marry Margaret, his professor wife, and had then focused on teaching and writing. His written works include Who Killed Jesus?

 29 Bhaktipada

Bhaktipada
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Famous As: Guru
Birthdate: September 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York, USA
Died: October 24, 2011

Vaishnava guru and New Vrindaban co-founder Kirtanananda Swami, better known as Bhaktipada, was born into a Baptist family. In spite of receiving a fellowship to study at Columbia University, he quit academics and joined ISKCON instead. He was later expelled from ISKCON after he was found guilty of child molestation.

 30 Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah

Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah
3
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: November 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Najaf, Iraq
Died: July 4, 2010

 31 Ashin Wirathu

Ashin Wirathu
3
Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: July 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyaukse, Mandalay Division, Burma

 32 Wilton D. Gregory

Wilton D. Gregory
5
Famous As: Religious leader
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.

 33 Pandurang Shastri Athavale

Pandurang Shastri Athavale
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 19, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
Died: October 25, 2003

Born to a Sanskrit teacher, Pandurang Shastri Athavale was taught as part of a separate school system set up by his father. The Padma Vibhushan-winning activist and spiritual leader later started his own Vedic movement known as the Swadhyaya Parivar. Shyam Benegal’s Antarnaad was based on his movement.

 34 Tarcisio Bertone

Tarcisio Bertone
3
Famous As: Cardinal
Birthdate: December 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Romano Canavese, Italy

 35 Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
3
Famous As: Cardinal
Birthdate: August 24, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reading, England
Died: September 1, 2017

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was a British Archbishop of Westminster and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He made headlines when he was serving as the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton; he was subjected to public scrutiny when a priest in his diocese was accused of sexually abusing children.

 36 Katharine Jefferts Schori

Katharine Jefferts Schori
3
Famous As: Bishop
Birthdate: March 26, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida

Katharine Jefferts Schori made headlines when she became the first woman to be the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Initially a Catholic, she joined the Episcopal Church at 8. A Stanford alumna, she also boasts of a PhD in oceanography and has worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

 37 Clare Crockett

Clare Crockett
3
Famous As: Nun
Birthdate: November 14, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Died: April 16, 2016

 38 Paul Marcinkus

Paul Marcinkus
3
Famous As: Archbishop
Birthdate: January 15, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cicero, Illinois, United States
Died: February 20, 2006

Paul Marcinkus was an American religious leader best remembered for his service as the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. From 1971 to 1989, he also served as the president of the Vatican Bank. One of the most controversial archbishops of the 20th century, Marcinkus' life and career inspired many film characters, including Archbishop Gilday in The Godfather Part III.  

 39 Francis Eugene Cardinal George

Francis Eugene Cardinal George
2
Famous As: Archbishop
Birthdate: January 16, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: April 17, 2015

Francis Eugene Cardinal George was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. From 1997 to 2014, he served as the Archbishop of Chicago. He also served as the Bishop of Yakima from 1990 to 1996. In 1998, he was created a cardinal and later served as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) between 2007 and 2010.

 40 Edward Egan

Edward Egan
2
Famous As: Bishop
Birthdate: April 2, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: March 5, 2015

Edward Egan was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. From 1988 to 2000, he served as Bishop of Bridgeport. From 2000 to 2009, he served as Archbishop of New York. A controversial personality, Egan vehemently opposed gay marriage and criticized the American film industry for glorifying same-sex marriage.

 41 Angela Warnick Buchdahl

Angela Warnick Buchdahl
2
Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: July 8, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Apart from achieving the feat of being the first Asian-American to become a rabbi and a cantor, Angela Warnick Buchdahl has also amazed everyone with her musical skills. A Yale alumna, she was featured in the documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre, which explored the musical history of Jewish synagogues.

 42 The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
2
Famous As: Chaplain
Birthdate: June 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 12, 2006

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr. was a Christian clergyman and peace activist. A multi-talented person, Coffin took part in peace movements and the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a talented pianist, athlete, and CIA officer during his younger days. He was honored with prestigious awards, such as World War II Victory Medal. 

 43 Giuseppe Bertello

Giuseppe Bertello
3
Famous As: Catholic priest
Birthdate: October 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Foglizzo, Italy

 44 Carlo Maria Martini

Carlo Maria Martini
2
Famous As: Archbishop
Birthdate: February 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: August 31, 2012

 45 Christoph Schönborn

Christoph Schönborn
3
Famous As: Chaplain
Birthdate: January 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Litomerice, Czechia

 46 Ani Choying Drolma

Ani Choying Drolma
2
Famous As: Nun
Birthdate: June 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kathmandu, Nepal

 47 Nirmala Joshi

Nirmala Joshi
2
Famous As: Religious Sister
Birthdate: July 23, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Syangja, Nepal
Died: June 23, 2015

 48 John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor

John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor
2
Famous As: Chaplain
Birthdate: January 15, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2000

John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor was a prelate of the Catholic Church. From 1984 to 2000, he served as Archbishop of New York. On March 7, 2000, he was honored with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal. He was also honored with several posthumous awards, including the Jackie Robinson Empire State Medal of Freedom on December 21, 2000.

 49 Moses Teitelbaum

Moses Teitelbaum
2
Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: November 1, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Újfehértó, Hungary
Died: April 24, 2006

 50 Lia Eden

Lia Eden
2
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: August 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Surabaya, Indonesia
Died: April 9, 2021