Famous Italian Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Find out more about the greatest Italian Spiritual & Religious Leaders, including Pope John Paul I, Pope Paul VI, Pope John XXIII, Pope Pius XII and Pope Pius XI.

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 Paul of Tarsus

Paul of Tarsus
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: 0064 AD

 2 St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi
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Famous As: Founder of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
Birthdate: November 26, 1182
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: October 3, 1226

An Italian Catholic friar, deacon, mystic, and preacher, St Francis of Assisi was the founder of the men's Order of Friars Minor and the women's Order of Saint Clare. He arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene in 1223. Also known as Francesco, he is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity.

 3 Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0226 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: February 14, 0269

 4 Pope John Paul I

Pope John Paul I
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Famous As: Pope of Roman Catholic Church
Birthdate: October 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 28, 1978
Pope John Paul I, also known as The Smiling Pope and The September Pope, was the shortest-reigning Pope and died 33 days after being made the Pope. He was the first Pope to choose a double name, including the names of his predecessors, John XXIII and Paul VI.

 5 Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: September 26, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Italian
Died: August 6, 1978
Succeeding Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI was elected the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State in June 1963 and continued in his role till his death in August 1978. He reconvened the Second Vatican Council and after its conclusion worked towards implementation of its reforms. He was canonised in 2018 by Pope Francis.

 6 Pio of Pietrelcina

Pio of Pietrelcina
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Birthdate: May 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 23, 1968

 7 Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII
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Famous As: Pope of Roman Catholic Church
Birthdate: March 2, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: October 9, 1958

Pope Pius XII served as the head of the Catholic Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City from 1939 till 1958. Of the many positions he had held, one was the secretaryship of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. He is remembered for negotiating the treaty of Reichskonkordat.

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 8 Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: November 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 3, 1963

Pope John XXIII served as the Bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church from 1958 until his death in 1963. He took many people by surprise when he called the historic Second Vatican Council, which addressed relations between the modern world and the Catholic Church. Pope John XXIII was canonized on 27 April 2014.

 9 Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: December 11, 1475
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
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.

 10 Benedict of Nursia

Benedict of Nursia
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 2, 0480
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 21, 0547
The only valid mention of Saint Benedict is found in the Dialogues of St. Gregory I. Of the many legends about him is the one in which he rolled himself against bushes to inflict wounds, just to escape the Devil who showed the image of a beautiful woman to him.

 11 Saint Lucy

Saint Lucy
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0283 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: 0304 AD

Saint Lucy was a Christian martyr who was killed during the Great Persecution. Lucy is venerated as a saint in the Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. She is one of the women commemorated in the Canon of the Mass by Roman Catholics. Saint Lucy's Day, her traditional feast day, is observed on 13 December by Western Christians.

 12 Pope Gregory I

Pope Gregory I
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0540 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 12, 0604

Pope Gregory I served as the bishop of Rome from 590 until his death in 604. He is best remembered for sending the Gregorian Mission to Britain, which was successful in converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. He is also credited with developing the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and is widely regarded as its de facto author.

 13 Pope Julius II

Pope Julius II
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: December 5, 1443
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
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.

 14 Pope Clement VII

Pope Clement VII
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: May 26, 1478
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Italian
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.

 15 Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: November 22, 0230

 16 Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: May 13, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: February 7, 1878

Pope Pius IX served as the longest-tenured pope. His reign also witnessed the first Vatican Council and was thus the last pope who had control over the Papal States. He also issued the Syllabus of Errors and inspired books such as The Pope Who Would Be King by David Kertzer.

 17 John Bosco

John Bosco
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: August 16, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Italian
Died: January 31, 1888

The founder of the Salesian Order, John Bosco, also known as Don Bosco, started his life as a priest in Turin. He began teaching young boys who came to Turin for jobs and later branched out to form a similar institution for girls too, with St. Mary Mazzarello.

 18 Pope Pius X

Pope Pius X
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Famous As: Head of the Catholic Church (1903-1914)
Birthdate: June 2, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Italian
Died: August 20, 1914

 19 Clare of Assisi

Clare of Assisi
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: July 16, 1194
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Italian
Died: August 11, 1253
Clare of Assisi, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, ran away from home to escape marriage and received her vows instead. She later formed the Poor Clares. She was made the patron saint of television, as she had once seen the Mass on the walls of her room.

 20 Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: March 2, 1810
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: July 20, 1903
Pope Leo XIII is best remembered for writing the Prayer to St. Michael and his encyclicals on the Rosary, which earned him the nickname Rosary Pope. He advocated for age-old Christian ways and means and was the first pope to have no authority over the Papal States.

 21 Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: May 31, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Italian
Died: February 10, 1939

A man who believed in the motto “The peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ,” Pope Pius XI was also an avid scholar. His reign witnessed the rise of Benito Mussolini and the signing of the Lateran Treaty, which recognized Vatican City as an independent nation state.

 22 Pope Innocent III

Pope Innocent III
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: February 22, 1161
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: July 16, 1216

Pope Innocent III served as the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1198 until his death in 1216. One of the most influential and powerful of the medieval popes, Pope Innocent exerted influence over the European Christian states, claiming supremacy over kings of Europe.

 23 Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 1033 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 21, 1109

Owing to his quality classical education, Anselm of Canterbury became one of the finest Latinists of his time. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he resisted the English kings and was exiled. He is now remembered as a significant figure in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted the king against the pope.

 24 Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII
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Birthdate: 1230 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: October 11, 1303

 25 Saints Methodius

Saints Methodius
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0815 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 6, 0885

 26 Pope Clement I

Pope Clement I
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: 0035 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: 0099 AD

Pope Clement I served as the fourth Bishop of Rome from 88 AD until his death in 99 AD. Regarded as the first Apostolic Father of the Church, Clement is revered as a saint and is regarded as a patron saint of mariners. According to a legend, Clement was responsible for the conversion of large numbers of pagans to Christianity.

 27 Pope Paul III

Pope Paul III
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: February 29, 1468
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: November 10, 1549

 28 Pope Sixtus IV

Pope Sixtus IV
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Famous As: Bishop of Rome
Birthdate: July 21, 1414
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Italian
Died: August 12, 1484

Remembered as a patron of the arts, Pope Sixtus IV devoted himself to the reconstruction of Roman churches and also sponsored the construction of the Sistine Chapel. He also developed the Vatican Library and made it available for scholars. He was a key force behind making Rome a Renaissance city.

 29 Agatha of Sicily

Agatha of Sicily
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0231 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: 0251 AD

Agatha of Sicily is a Christian saint, one of the several virgin martyrs commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. She was put to death during the Decian persecution (250–253) in Catania, Sicily. Owing to her determined profession of faith, she is highly venerated in Christianity. She is the patron saint of martyrs and wet nurses. 

 30 Pope Linus

Pope Linus
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 0010 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 23, 0076

 31 Pope John XII

Pope John XII
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 0937 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 14, 0964

John XII was made the pope by his father, Alberic II of Spoleto, the prince of Rome. While John crowned Otto I the king of Germany, he went against the Ottonian Privilege, which called for his allegiance to the king. John was also infamous for his sexually reckless life.

 32 Pope Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: 1020 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 25, 1085

Pope Gregory VII is remembered for his role in the Investiture Controversy or the Gregorian Reform. He became the first pope to depose a ruler, Emperor Henry IV, leading to a long conflict between the Catholic Church and the monarchy. He is now revered as a Catholic saint.

 33 Pope Celestine V

Pope Celestine V
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 1215 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 19, 1296

 34 Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 1012 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: 1056 AD

 35 Pope Leo I

Pope Leo I
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 0400 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: November 10, 0461

 36 Augustine of Canterbury

Augustine of Canterbury
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Famous As: Archbishop of Canterbury
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality: Italian, British
Died: May 26, 0604

 37 Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Mazarin
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Famous As: Cardinal
Birthdate: July 14, 1602
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 9, 1661

 38 Carlo Maria ViganĂ²

Carlo Maria ViganĂ²
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: January 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Italian

 39 Pope Benedict XV

Pope Benedict XV
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: November 21, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Italian
Died: January 22, 1922

 40 Aloysius Gonzaga

Aloysius Gonzaga
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 9, 1568
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 21, 1591

 41 Pope Innocent VIII

Pope Innocent VIII
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 1432 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: July 25, 1492

 42 Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII
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Birthdate: January 7, 1502
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 10, 1585

 43 Henry Benedict Stuart

Henry Benedict Stuart
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Famous As: Cardinal
Birthdate: March 6, 1725
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: July 13, 1807

 44 Pope Formosus

Pope Formosus
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Famous As: Bishop of Rome
Birthdate: 0816 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 4, 0896

 45 Antipope John XXIII

Antipope John XXIII
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 1370 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: December 22, 1419

 46 Frances Xavier Cabrini

Frances Xavier Cabrini
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Famous As: Nun
Birthdate: July 15, 1850
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Italian, American
Died: December 22, 1917

 47 Matteo Ricci

Matteo Ricci
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Famous As: explorer, cartographer, writer, missionary, translator, priest
Birthdate: October 6, 1552
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 11, 1610

 48 Pope Pius V

Pope Pius V
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: January 17, 1504
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 1, 1572

 49 Pope Pius III

Pope Pius III
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: May 9, 1439
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: October 18, 1503

 50 Pope Leo III

Pope Leo III
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: 0750 AD
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 12, 0816