Priests

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

Priests and priestesses have existed since the ancient times, from the simplest societies, to hamlets and royal families. A priest is a person who is authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion and acts as intercessor between humans and one or numerous deities. In order to attain priesthood, an individual has to go through a complex process of introspection, education and sacraments. Some of the ancient priests and priestesses acted as bureaucrats on behalf of kings and were also given the responsibility to staff temples, give offerings and perform other religious rituals. In places like Italy, priesthood was only attained by Roman matrons and the elite. During the onset of Christianity, there was a sudden growth in the formation of Catholic Churches since the 3rd century and priests headed churches and were appointed as the ones in authority to act on behalf of Christ. Although Islam does not hold the office or the title of ‘priest’, they do have the title of ‘mullahs’, which translates to ‘cleric’ and in layman’s terms; priests. They are not necessarily religious, but are highly educated respected individuals in the society. Hindu priests, often known as ‘pujaris’ or ‘purohits’ and belong to the ‘Brahmin’ caste and are ordained as priests after a period of training. Not only do these priests perform rituals in temples but also perform rituals pertaining to weddings, funerals and other services. Here is a list of famous priests. Go through their biographies, which include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
Vote for Your Favourite Priests
 1 
Martin Luther
(German Theologian, Religious Reformer and Key Figure in Protestant Reformation)
Martin Luther
5
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.

 2 
Desmond Tutu
(First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
Desmond Tutu
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 3 
Anthony of Padua
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1195
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Died: June 13, 1231

Thirteenth-century Portuguese Catholic priest Anthony of Padua was the friar of the Franciscan Order. He is remembered for his self-less devotion to the poor and the sick and is revered as the patron saint of lost items. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Thomas Wolsey
(Bishop, Statesman)
Thomas Wolsey
5
Birthdate: 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ipswich, England
Died: November 29, 1530
Thomas Wolsey was an archbishop and a cardinal of the Catholic Church, who was made King Henry VIII’s chief advisor, or the Lord Chancellor. He failed to negotiate an annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and thus lost his titles. He was eventually charged with treason.
Recommended Lists:
 5 
Thomas Aquinas
(Italian Theologian & Philosopher)
Thomas Aquinas
7
Birthdate: January 25, 1225
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Roccasecca, Italy
Died: March 7, 1274
Dominican friar and Catholic priest Thomas Aquinas was also a Doctor of the Church. He tried to mingle Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity. His works, including Summa Theologica and Disputed Questions on Truth, and his views on the Scriptures have been studied as prominent texts on theology, philosophy, and canon law.
 6 
Marie Laveau
(Occultist, Priestess)
Marie Laveau
7
Birthdate: September 10, 1801
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: June 15, 1881

Occultist and herbalist Marie Laveau was known as the Vodoo Queen of New Orleans. Though a hairdresser, she was chiefly known for her spiritual practices which she used to heal the sick and the poor. She has inspired several books, such as Robert Tallant's The Voodoo Queen.

Recommended Lists:
 7 
Girolamo Savonarola
(Italian Preacher, Reformer and Martyr)
Girolamo Savonarola
4
Birthdate: September 21, 1452
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: May 23, 1498
Distingusihed for his clash against corrupt clergy and with tyrranical rulers, Girolamo Savonarola became a moral dictator of the city of Florence. He earned a reputation for austerity and detested every form of pleasure that earned him powerful enemies.
 8 
Jerome
(Christian Priest Best Known for His Translation of Most of the Bible into Latin)
Jerome
4
Birthdate: 0342 AD
Birthplace: Štrigova, Croatia
Died: September 30, 0420
Latin priest Jerome of Stridon, also known as Saint Jerome, is remembered for translating the Bible into Latin, which came to be known as the Vulgate. Named a Doctor of the Church, he was a secretary to Pope Damascus I and predominantly preached about how women ascetics should behave.
Recommended Lists:
 9 
Georges Lemaître
(Scientist & Priest)
Georges Lemaître
10
Birthdate: July 17, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Charleroi, Belgium
Died: June 20, 1966

Georges Lemaître was a mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics. Lemaître was the first person to theorize that the expansion of the universe can be used to explain the recession of nearby galaxies. In 1927, Lemaître published the first estimation of the Hubble constant. He also came up with the Big Bang theory to explain the origin of the universe.

 10 
T. D. Jakes
(Priest, Author, Writer)
T. D. Jakes
5
Birthdate: June 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: South Charleston

Known for his baritone voice and his signature goatee, T. D. Jakes is a bishop at The Potter's House and a filmmaker, too. He has produced and appeared in films such as Jumping the Broom and Not Easily Broken, the latter being based one of his novels.

Recommended Lists:
 11 
Maximilian Kolbe
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zduńska Wola, Poland
Died: August 14, 1941

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar and a Catholic priest. Venerated as Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Maximilian is best remembered for volunteering to die at the death camp of Auschwitz in place of a stranger during World War II. In 1982, Pope John Paul II declared Maximilian Kolbe a martyr of charity.

 12 
Bede
(English Monk at the Monastery of St. Peter, Best Known for His Work 'Ecclesiastical History of the English People')
Bede
4
Birthdate: 0673 AD
Birthplace: Jarrow, England
Died: May 26, 0735

Best known for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Venerable Bede was an Anglo Saxon theologian and historian. An English Benedictine monk, he was taken to the monastery of St. Peter at age 7. He is now revered as the patron saint of English writers and historians.

Recommended Lists:
 13 
Benedict of Nursia
5
Birthdate: March 3, 0480
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norcia, Italy
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.
 14 
John Newton
(British Sailor and Anglican Clergyman)
John Newton
4
Birthdate: July 24, 1725
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wapping, London
Died: December 21, 1807

John Newton was an English Anglican cleric. As a young man, he was forcefully recruited into the navy and worked on slave ships in the slave trade for several years. He later converted to Christianity, following which he denounced slavery and became an abolitionist. He was then ordained as a Church of England cleric. 

Pio of Pietrelcina
5
Birthdate: May 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pietrelcina
Died: September 23, 1968

Born Francesco Forgione, Pio of Pietrelcina changed his name after joining the Capuchin order at age 15. He later became famous for exhibiting stigmata, marks on his body symbolizing the wounds of Jesus. He is revered as the patron saint of adolescents and civil defense volunteers.

 16 
Óscar Romero
(Prelate of the Catholic Church in El Salvador)
Óscar Romero
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador
Died: March 24, 1980

Óscar Romero was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He was a prelate of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. Disturbed by a growing war between left-wing and right-wing forces, he spoke against social injustice, poverty, assassinations, and torture. He was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980. He is considered an unofficial patron saint of the Americas and El Salvador.

Recommended Lists:
 17 
Saint Dominic
(Spanish Priest and Founder of the Dominican Order and Patron Saint of Astronomers)
Saint Dominic
4
Birthdate: August 8, 1170
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caleruega, Spain
Died: August 6, 1221

Saint Dominic was a Castilian Catholic priest who is credited with founding the Dominican Order. Dominic is said to have abstained from meat throughout his life. He is also remembered for putting himself to undue hardship like traveling barefoot and rejecting the luxury of a bed. He is regarded as the patron saint of astronomers.

 18 
Junípero Serra
(Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary of the Franciscan Order)
Junípero Serra
6
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Petra, Spain
Died: August 28, 1784

Junípero Serra was a Roman Catholic priest who is credited with founding the Franciscan Missions of the Sierra Gorda. He is also credited with founding nine of the 21 Spanish missions in California. On 25 September 1988, Junípero Serra was beatified in the Vatican City by Pope John Paul II. On 23 September 2015, he was canonized by Pope Francis.

Recommended Lists:
 19 
Bartolomé de las Casas
(The First Resident Bishop of ‘Chiapas’, and the First Officially Appointed "Protector of the Indians")
Bartolomé de las Casas
7
Birthdate: November 11, 1484
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: July 18, 1566
Known for works such as Historia de las Indias, Spanish historian Bartolomé de las Casas is remembered as the first to have focused on the exploitation of the indigenous community in the Americas. His life-long struggle to end slavery brought about significant changes in the treatment of colonized people.
 20 
Ambrose
(Ancient Bishop of Milan Who Also Contributed to Music and Literature)
Ambrose
4
Birthdate: 0340 AD
Birthplace: Trier, Germany
Died: April 4, 0397

A 4th-century bishop of Milan, Aurelius Ambrosius was a strong supporter of the Latin church and a vocal opponent of Arianism and paganism. He also converted St. Augustine of Hippo. He is also remembered as an important literary figure and also composed several hymns.

Recommended Lists:
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pénjamo, Mexico
Died: July 30, 1811

Spanish priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is remembered as the father of Mexican independence. During the 1808 French invasion of Spain, the Mexicans demanded independence from Spanish rule. Hidalgo’s subsequent call for revolt against the Spanish is remembered as the Cry of Dolores. He was executed by a firing squad.

 22 
John of the Cross
(Roman Catholic Saint)
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.

Recommended Lists:
 23 
Anselm of Canterbury
(Benedictine Monk, Philosopher and Archbishop of Canterbury (1093 - 1109))
Anselm of Canterbury
5
Birthdate: 1033 AD
Birthplace: Aosta, Italy
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 
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
(Jesuit Priest who Co-developed the Concept of Noosphere & was Part of the Discovery of Peking Man)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
5
Birthdate: May 1, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orcines, France
Died: April 10, 1955

French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is remembered as someone who deviated from theology to science. He discovered the fossilized remains known as the Peking man in China, but faced a lot of opposition from his religious superiors when it came to publishing his scientific thoughts.

Recommended Lists:
Bernard of Clairvaux
4
Birthdate: 1090 AD
Birthplace: Fontaine-lès-Dijon, France
Died: August 20, 1153

Bernard of Clairvaux, or Saint Bernard, was a 12th-century Burgundian monk, who became the abbot of the abbey of Clairvaux, founded by him. He chose to live a life of physical austerities, which caused him ailments such as anemia. He is revered as the patron saint of beekeepers and candlemakers.

 26 
Jim Elliot
(Missionary)
Jim Elliot
4
Birthdate: October 8, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon
Died: January 8, 1956
 American Christian missionary Jim Elliot was one of five people killed during Operation Auca. He is still remembered for his selfless devotion to God and his zeal, tempered by love, to guide people. The Journals of Jim Elliot contains volumes of documents written over many years by Jim Elliot in which the missionary has detailed his mission work.
 27 
Pope Paul III
(Head of the Catholic Church (1534 - 1549) and Established the Counter-Reformation and Encouraged Arts)
Pope Paul III
4
Birthdate: February 29, 1468
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Canino, Italy
Died: November 10, 1549
 28 
Pythia
(Priestess)
Pythia
5
Birthplace: greece
Recommended Lists:
 29 
Max Lucado
(Theologian, Writer)
Max Lucado
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Angelo
A best-selling author and pastor at Oak Hills Church, Max Lucado is known for combining poetic storytelling and homespun humor. With over 120 million copies sold in 54 languages, Max is dubbed as America’s Pastor. He received three Gold Medallion Book of the Year awards for his books, Just Like Jesus, In the Grip of Grace, and When God Whispers Your Name.
 30 
Aaron
(Prophet, High Priest)
Aaron
4
Birthdate: 1396 BC
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 1273 BC
Aaron didn’t just establish the Israelite priesthood but also led the Israelites out of Egypt, along with his brother, Moses. He finds mention in the Bible, the Quran, and the Talmud. His role in the Exodus changes to being that of Moses’s assistant as the march out of Egypt progresses.
Recommended Lists:
 31 
Father Damien
3
Birthdate: January 3, 1840
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tremelo, Belgium
Died: April 15, 1889

Father Damien was a Roman Catholic priest best remembered for his ministry, which he led for people with leprosy. He is credited with building schools and hospitals to benefit those in need. After caring for those in the leper colony for 11 years, Damien contracted leprosy and succumbed to the disease. He is referred to as a martyr of charity.   

 32 
Xuanzang
(Scholar)
Xuanzang
4
Birthdate: 0602 AD
Birthplace: Henan
Died: February 5, 0664
Recommended Lists:
 33 
Solomon Burke
(Singer, Priest, Guitarist, Songwriter, Composer)
Solomon Burke
4
Birthdate: March 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: October 10, 2010
American preacher and singer Solomon Burke shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s. Known for his 'prodigious output', Burke has been called 'a key transitional figure bridging R&B and soul'. During his professional career that lasted 55 years, Burke released 38 studio albums and had 35 singles.
 34 
Saint David
(Bishop)
Saint David
3
Birthdate: 0500 AD
Birthplace: Caerfai Bay, Wales
Died: March 1, 0589

Saint David was a Welsh bishop who lived during the 6th century. His life and teachings inspired Welsh composer Sir Karl William Pamp Jenkins to come up with a choral work titled Dewi Sant. David's teachings also inspired another composer named Arwel Hughes, who composed an oratorio titled Dewi Sant in 1950. David is considered the patron saint of Wales.

 35 
John Bosco
(Italian Catholic Priest Known for Educating the Poor and Founded the Education System 'Salesian Preventive System')
John Bosco
9
Birthdate: August 16, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Italy
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.

 36 
Mychal Judge
(Catholic priest)
Mychal Judge
5
Birthdate: May 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: September 11, 2001

Designated Victim 0001 of the 2011 Twin Tower attack, Mychal Judge was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. Developing an early interest in monastic life, he served in various parishes before being appointed chaplain to New York City Fire Department. On hearing about the attack, he rushed to the spot and died while praying for the victims inside North Tower.

 37 
Juan Diego
(Saint)
Juan Diego
4
Birthdate: 1474 AD
Birthplace: Cuautitlan, Mexico
Died: May 30, 1548
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
4
Birthdate: February 2, 1754
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 17, 1838

French diplomat and bishop Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord is counted among the most pragmatic and prominent diplomats in European history. He served King Louis XVI and thereafter changed sides several times, serving at highest levels of successive French governments of Napoleon I, Louis XVIII and Louis Philippe I. He served as the first Prime Minister of France under Louis XVIII.

 39 
Francis de Sales
(Bishop of Geneva (1602 - 1622))
Francis de Sales
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1567
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Château de Sales, Thorens-Glières, France
Died: December 28, 1622

Called the Gentleman Saint for his tenderness and patience, Francis de Sales was a Catholic priest and Bishop of Geneva (1602-1622). Canonized in 1665, he was later proclaimed Doctor of the Church for his contribution to theology and patron of writers and journalists for his extensive use of broadsheets and books. He also invented sign languages for teaching the deaf.

 40 
John of Damascus
(Saint, Best Known for His Strong Defence of 'Icons')
John of Damascus
4
Birthdate: 0676 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: December 4, 0749

John of Damascus was a Christian apologist, priest, and monk. A polymath, John contributed to various fields, such as philosophy, theology, law, and music. He also wrote several works explaining the Christian faith. The hymns which he composed are still used in Eastern Christian practice as well as in western Lutheranism.

 41 
Pope Gregory XIII
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1502
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: April 10, 1585
 42 
Ivan Illich
(Roman Catholic Priest and Author of 'Deschooling Society' which Criticises Modern Society's Educational Approach)
Ivan Illich
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 2, 2002

Ivan Illich was a Roman Catholic priest, philosopher,  theologian, and social critic. He criticized modern society's institutional approach to education in his book Deshooling Society. He studied theology and philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained as a priest in 1951. Later on, he founded the Center of Intercultural Formation (CIF) to train missionaries. 

 43 
Pope Boniface VIII
(Head of the Roman Catholic Church (1294 - 1303))
Pope Boniface VIII
4
Birthdate: 1230 AD
Birthplace: Anagni, Italy
Died: October 11, 1303
 44 
Pope Formosus
(Bishop of Rome)
Pope Formosus
4
Birthdate: 0816 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: April 4, 0896
 45 
Fray Tormenta
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Agustín Metzquititlán, Mexico
 46 
Duns Scotus
(Philosopher, Priest)
Duns Scotus
4
Birthdate: 1265 AD
Birthplace: Duns, Scotland
Died: December 8, 1308

Duns Scotus was a Scottish Franciscan friar, philosopher, theologian, and university professor. Widely regarded as one of the most prominent philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages, Scotus had a major influence on both secular and Catholic thought. In 1993, Duns Scotus was beatified by the Catholic Church. His life and work inspired a 2012 Italian film titled Blessed Duns Scotus.

 47 
James Smith Bush
(Jurist, Writer, Lawyer, Priest, Politician)
James Smith Bush
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1825
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: November 11, 1889

The progenitor of the Bush political family, James Smith Bush, was a jurist by training before he was drawn to divinity and ordained as a priest. He began his career as rector of the Grace Church in Orange, New Jersey. Later, he visited other parts of the country, writing several books on religion, most significant of them being Evidence of Religion.

Charles-Michel de l'Épée
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1712
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Versailles, Yvelines, France
Died: December 23, 1789

Eighteenth-century philanthropic educator Charles-Michel de l'Épée is regarded as the Father of the Deaf for pioneering the education of the deaf and dumb. He laid down the Signed French system, which enabled the deaf to participate in legal proceedings. His French Sign Language laid the path to the American Sign Language.

 49 
Pope Adrian IV
4
Birthdate: 1100 AD
Birthplace: Abbot’s Langley, England
Died: September 1, 1159

Pope Adrian IV was the only Englishman to have served as the pope. Initially aspiring to study law, he later began his spiritual journey by joining the abbey of St Ruf. His reign as the pope lasted a little more than 4 years but was plagued by crisis and controversy.

 50 
Daniel Berrigan
(Peace activist, Theologian, Writer, University teacher)
Daniel Berrigan
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: April 30, 2016

Daniel Berrigan was an American anti-war activist, Jesuit priest, Christian pacifist, author, poet, and playwright. Berrigan gained national attention for his protest against the Vietnam War, which landed him on the FBI's most-wanted list. He remained a popular anti-war activist throughout his life, co-founding an anti-nuclear weapons movement called the Plowshares movement in 1980.