Famous German Priests

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 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
4
Birthdate: February 4, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: April 9, 1945
Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is remembered for his anti-Nazi stance, for establishing the Confessing Church, and for authoring the book The Cost of Discipleship. He was sent to the Flossenbürg concentration camp after being imprisoned for a year. He was eventually hanged after being charged of plotting to assassinate Hitler.

 2 
Martin Luther
(Father of Protestantism and Church Reformer)

Martin Luther
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1483
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eisleben, Germany
Died: February 18, 1546

German monk Martin Luther challenged the dogmas of Roman Catholicism and the authority of the pope, in his Ninety-five Theses, and was thus excommunicated. His German translation of the Bible enriched the German culture, and his marriage set an example for clerical marriage. His teachings are now known as Lutherans.

 3 

Martin Adolf Bormann
4
Birthdate: April 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Grünwald, Bavaria, Germany
Died: March 11, 2013

Son of a top Nazi official, laicized Roman Catholic priest Martin Adolf Bormann found shelter in a church after Germany lost the war. Ordained as a priest, he later served in Congo before leaving the ministry to become a teacher of theology. After retirement, he began traveling across Germany and Austria, talking about the horrors of Nazi rule in schools.

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 4 
Thomas à Kempis
(Catholic priest)

Thomas à Kempis
4
Birthdate: 1380 AD
Birthplace: Kempen, Germany
Died: July 25, 1471

German-Dutch clergy Thomas à Kempis is largely believed to be the author of Imitatio Christi, or Imitation of Christ. Part of the Devotio Moderna, or the Modern Devotion movement, he was the son of a blacksmith and had moved from Rhineland to the Netherlands, where he was inspired by Gerard Groote’s followers.

 5 
Franz Brentano
(Philosopher)

Franz Brentano
3
Birthdate: January 16, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rhine Province
Died: March 17, 1917

 6 
Karl Rahner
(One of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century)

Karl Rahner
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Died: March 30, 1984

One of the most significant theologians of the 20th century, Karl Rahner was a disciple of Martin Heidegger at the University of Freiburg. His works such as Spirit in the World and Hearers of the Word showcase the Roman Catholic doctrine and its many interpretations.

 7 
Heinrich Kramer
(German churchman and inquisitor)

Heinrich Kramer
4
Birthdate: 1430 AD
Birthplace: Sélestat, France
Died: 1505 AD
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 8 

Georg Ratzinger
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pleiskirchen, Germany
Died: July 1, 2020

Anne Catherine Emmerich
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1774
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Coesfeld, Germany
Died: February 9, 1824

 10 
Thomas Müntzer
(Preacher)

Thomas Müntzer
4
Birthdate: 1489 AD
Birthplace: Stolberg, Südharz, Germany
Died: May 27, 1525

Remembered as a radical reformer, Thomas Müntzer was a major force in the German Peasants' War of 1525. Initially a priest and a linguistic specialist, he gradually began representing the middle class and worked toward church reforms. He was eventually executed, and his head wad displayed as a warning.

Wolfgang of Regensburg
3
Birthdate: 0934 AD
Birthplace: Swabia
Died: October 31, 0994

 12 

Angelus Silesius
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1624
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: June 9, 1677
Born in Silesia, 17th-century mystic and religious poet Johannes Scheffler, better known as Angelus Silesius, is best remembered as the author of The Cherubic Wanderer. He had initially been the court physician of the duke of Oels but later became a Roman Catholic priest. He urged German Protestants to adopt Catholicism.

 13 

Hubert Schiffer
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Germany
Died: March 27, 1982

 14 
Prince Georg of Bavaria
(Catholic priest)

Prince Georg of Bavaria
3
Birthdate: April 2, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: May 31, 1943

 15 
Alfred Delp
(Priest)

Alfred Delp
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
Died: February 2, 1945

 16 
Romano Guardini
(Catholic priest was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century)

Romano Guardini
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Verona, Italy
Died: October 1, 1968

Though he initially studied both chemistry and economics, Romano Guardini later became a priest. He later also served the University of Berlin as its chair of philosophy in religion but was forced to resign by the Nazis. He later also taught at the University of Munich.

 17 

Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: May 14, 1943

Hermann of Reichenau
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1013
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Altshausen, Germany
Died: September 24, 1054

 19 

Johannes Tauler
2
Birthdate: 1300 AD
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: June 16, 1361

 20 
Christoph Scheiner
(German Jesuit Priest, Physicist and Astronomer)

Christoph Scheiner
2
Birthdate: July 25, 1573
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Markt Wald, Germany
Died: June 18, 1650

Christoph Scheiner was a Jesuit priest, astronomer, and physicist. He is credited with inventing the pantograph which he demonstrated in Munich after he was invited by Duke William V of Bavaria. Several schools and streets in Germany are named after him. A lunar crater is also named in his honor.

 21 
Veleda
(Priestess)

Veleda
2
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Germany

 22 

Ignaz von Döllinger
2
Birthdate: February 28, 1799
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: January 10, 1890

Clemens August Graf von Galen
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dinklage Castle, Dinklage, Oldenburg, Germany
Died: March 22, 1946

Twentieth-century bishop of Münster, Clemens August Graf von Galen, a figure of Catholic resistance, strongly opposed the Nazi T4 program of euthanizing the sick and the physically and mentally disabled. He escaped being executed, as the Nazis had planned to hang him after winning World War II, which never happened.

 24 

Konrad von Marburg
2
Birthdate: 1180 AD
Birthplace: Germany
Died: July 30, 1233

 25 
Eugen Drewermann
(Theologian)

Eugen Drewermann
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berghamen, Germany

 26 
Ansgar
(Saint)

Ansgar
3
Birthdate: September 8, 0801
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amiens, France
Died: February 3, 0865

Saint Ansgar, or Oscar, was a medieval missionary and the first archbishop of Hamburg. He had been sent to evangelical missions in Denmark and Sweden. His frequent travels for work earned him the nickname the Apostle of the North. He was made a saint by Rembert, his successor.

 27 

Pope Gregory V
3
Birthdate: 0972 AD
Birthplace: Stainach-Pürgg, Austria
Died: February 9, 0999

Counted as the first German pope, Pope Gregory V reigned for less than three years. A member of the Salian dynasty, he is said to have acted as a representative of the Holy Roman Emperor in Rome. His pontificate, which started in May 996 and ended with his death in February 999, was historically one of the most unsettled periods.

 28 
Bernhard Häring
(Theologian)

Bernhard Häring
1
Birthdate: November 10, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Böttingen, Germany
Died: July 3, 1998

 29 

Pope Damasus II
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Duchy of Bavaria, Holy Roman Empire
Died: August 9, 1048

Poppo, who later came to be known as Pope Damasus II had initially served as the bishop of Brixen. However, Damascus II had the shortest papal reign in history, as he passed away of malaria just 23 days after assuming papacy. He was the third German to have been the pope.

 30 
Johann Ernst Hanxleden
(Priest, Philologist)

Johann Ernst Hanxleden
0
Birthdate: 1681 AD
Birthplace: Ostercappeln, Germany
Died: March 21, 1732

 31 

Regino of Prüm
1
Birthdate: 0842 AD
Birthplace: Altrip, Germany
Died: 0915 AD

Benedictine monk Regino of Prüm is best known for his two-volume chronicle of the period between Christ’s birth and the early 10th century, Chronicon. The abbot of Prüm, he later headed the monastery at Saint-Martin. He also advocated for a reform of church music and penned a collection of canons.

 32 
Johann Martin Schleyer
(Catholic priest who invented the constructed language Volapük)

Johann Martin Schleyer
1
Birthdate: July 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lauda-Königshofen, Germany
Died: August 16, 1912

 33 

Saint Gotthard
1
Birthdate: 0960 AD
Birthplace: Bavaria, Germany
Died: May 4, 1038

 34 

Pope Victor II
3
Birthdate: 1018 AD
Birthplace: Germany
Died: July 28, 1057

Pope Victor II was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1055 until his death in 1057. A son of the Swabian Count Hartwig of Calw, he was appointed bishop of Eichstätt as a young man. He became the pope following the death of Pope Leo IX. 

Samson Raphael Hirsch
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1808
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: December 31, 1888

Samson Raphael Hirsch is best remembered as the pioneer of the Neo-Orthodox school of Judaism. He also opposed Reform Judaism and their application of historical techniques in the study of religious texts. The Nineteen Letters on Judaism, written under the pseudonym Ben Uziel is his most notable work.

 36 

Michael von Faulhaber
3
Birthdate: March 5, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Röthlein, Germany
Died: June 12, 1952

Michael von Faulhaber was a senior Catholic prelate and Archbishop of Munich from 1917 to 1952. He was a co-founder of the Amici Israel, a priestly association that strove for Jewish-Christian reconciliation. During the Nazi era, he was involved in drafting the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge. He recognized the Nazi government as legitimate and preached against communism.

Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler
1
Birthdate: December 25, 1811
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Münster, Germany
Died: July 13, 1877

 38 
Arculf
(Bishop)

Arculf
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Germany

 39 

Pope Clement II
2
Birthdate: 1005 AD
Birthplace: Hornburg, Germany
Died: October 9, 1047

Suidger, better known as Pope Clement II, had initially served as the bishop of Bamberg. He ushered in many reforms and brought in regulations against simony. His death after a trip to Germany was attributed to poisoning with lead sugar, probably by the supporters of his successor, Benedict IX.

 40 

August Gottlieb Spangenberg
1
Birthdate: July 15, 1704
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hohenstein, Germany
Died: September 18, 1792

 41 

Nikolaus von Amsdorf
1
Birthdate: December 3, 1483
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Torgau, Germany
Died: May 14, 1565

 42 
Rupert Mayer
(Catholic priest)

Rupert Mayer
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1876
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany
Died: November 1, 1945

German Catholic priest Rupert Mayer is remembered for his lifelong opposition to Nazism. He had been an army chaplain during World War I and had earned the nickname The Limping Priest after losing a leg to a grenade attack. The Nazis had sent him to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Duke Carl Alexander of Wurttemberg
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stuttgart, German Empire
Died: December 27, 1964

Duke Carl Alexander of Wurttemberg had been part of the German army in World War I. He escaped Nazi Germany and moved to Switzerland and later to the U.S. Remembered for his relentless work to help German Jews and refugees move to the U.S., he had also been an FBI spy.

Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg
2
Birthdate: February 8, 1744
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Herrnsheim, Germany
Died: February 10, 1817

Among the many positions held by Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg, the most notable were those of the arch-chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire and the archbishop of Mainz. Though he wished to establish a national German church, his wishes were toned down by the pope.

 45 

Johann Albrecht Bengel
2
Birthdate: June 24, 1687
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Winnenden, Germany
Died: November 2, 1752

It is unfortunate that German Lutheran clergyman Johann Albrecht Bengel is only remembered for his work on Greek New Testament. One of the greatest biblical scholars, he was also a devout Christian, who founded Swabian Pietism. He was also a pioneer in the modern textual criticism, in scientific exegesis and in modern eschatological study.

 46 

Saint Bruno the Great
2
Birthdate: 0925 AD
Birthplace: Germany
Died: October 11, 0965

Tenth-century archbishop of Cologne Saint Bruno the Great, also known as Bruno of Saxony, was the brother of Roman emperor Otto I and the youngest son of Henry the Fowler. He established countless institutions, such as the St. Pantaleon in Cologne. In Otto’s absence, Bruno served as the regent.

 47 

Eleazar of Worms
2
Birthdate: 1176 AD
Birthplace: Mainz, Germany
Died: 1238 AD

Thirteenth-century rabbi and mystic Eleazar of Worms is best known for his copious works such as Sefer Ḥasidim, which offer detailed accounts of the Hasidei Ashkenaz movement of German Jews. His work on Jewish ethics, Ha-Roḳeaḥ, or The Perfumer, earned him the nickname Eleazar Rokeaḥ.

 48 
Benno
(Bishop)

Benno
1
Birthdate: 1010 AD
Birthplace: Hildesheim, Germany
Died: June 16, 1106

Twelfth-century German bishop Saint Benno was imprisoned for opposing King Henry IV. Though deposed initially, he later reconciled and was restored. He is revered as the patron saint of the city of Munich and of fishermen and weavers. His images show him holding a fish with keys between its gills.

Joseph Hubert Reinkens
0
Birthdate: March 1, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Burtscheid, Germany
Died: January 4, 1896

 50 

Nathan Marcus Adler
1
Birthdate: January 13, 1803
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: January 21, 1890

Nathan Marcus Adler was born to the chief rabbi of Hanover and later followed in this father’s footsteps to become the chief rabbi of the British Empire. His contribution to the community included the establishment of the Jews’ College. His efforts led to the Synagogue bill being passed.