Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Religion and spirituality are two things that are probably the most difficult to define in definite terms. It would be wrong to say that spirituality and religion don’t go hand in hand because they do; the only difference is that while religion is an organized system that pays homage to a god, spirituality is something that does not always need a deity to define the parameters of the person’s spiritual conduct. Throughout history there have been people who have played the roles of, both, spiritual and religious leaders for their societies. Some of them have done such exemplary work, with such dedication, that their work, and in turn they themselves, were recognized the world over for their steadfast dedication and wisdom in guiding their flock. Some examples of religious leaders would be people like the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict XVI while a list of spiritual leaders would include people like the famous Osho Rajneesh. It is natural, at this point, to look for more information about these people and others like then so here is a list of just such people along with their biographies, timelines, trivia, life stories and interesting facts about them.

 1 Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ
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Famous As: Founder of Christianity
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality:

 2 Jesus

Jesus
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Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: 0004 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: 0030 AD

 3 Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad
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Famous As: Founder of Islam
Birthdate: April 22, 0571
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Died: June 8, 0632

Prophet Muhammad was an Arab religious, political, and social leader. He is credited with founding the world's second-largest religion, Islam. He is believed to have been sent to preach and confirm the teachings of other prophets, such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He is also believed to have received revelations from God, which form the verses of the Quran.

 4 Pope Francis

Pope Francis
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Birthdate: December 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Argentinian

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.

 5 Gautama Buddha

Gautama Buddha
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Famous As: Founder of Buddhism
Birthdate: 0563 BC
Nationality: Nepalese
Died: 0483 BC

Gautama Buddha is said to have lived in the 5th to 4th century BC and is revered as the founder of Buddhism. He is said to have spread his teachings for around 45 years based on his insights regarding suffering, nirvana and cycle of birth and rebirth. He had a large following. He obtained ‘enlightenment’ in India’s Bodh Gaya.

 6 Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa
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Famous As: Founder of Missionaries of Charity
Birthdate: August 26, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Albanian, Indian
Died: September 5, 1997

An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation. She was both an admired and controversial figure and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. While she was admired by many for her charitable work, she also earned criticism for her stance against abortion and contraception.

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 7 Charles II

Charles II
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Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: February 6, 1685
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 8 Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas
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Famous As: Christian Saint
Birthdate: March 15, 0270
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Greek, Turkish
Died: December 6, 0343
Fourth-century Greek Christian bishop Saint Nicholas gave rise to the legend of "Santa Claus," associated with the tradition of gifting during Christmas. One legend states that he saved three girls from prostitution and dropped sacks of gold coins through their window to help their father pay for their dowry.
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 9 Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell
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Famous As: English Statesman
Birthdate: April 25, 1599
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: September 3, 1658
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and a devoted Puritan who belonged to an affluent landowning family. During the English Civil War, Cromwell fought against King Charles I and caused the deaths of at least 3,000 soldiers and civilians.

 10 Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II
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Famous As: Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City
Birthdate: May 18, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Polish
Died: April 2, 2005

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He is hailed for helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and improving the Catholic Church's relations with Islam, Judaism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was a lifelong football fan, having himself played the sport in his youth.

 11 Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev
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Famous As: Yoga Guru
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian

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.

 12 Martin Luther

Martin Luther
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Famous As: Father of Protestantism and Church Reformer
Birthdate: November 10, 1483
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
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.

 13 Moses

Moses
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Famous As: Hebrew Religious Leader, Lawgiver, Prophet
Birthdate: 1391 BC
Nationality: Egyptian, Jordanian
Died: 1272 BC

A prominent prophet in Islam, Christianity, and the Baháʼí Faith among other Abrahamic religions, Moses is also the most important prophet in Judaism. One of the most important biblical characters, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are fundamental to both Christianity and Judaism. The authorship of the Torah is also attributed to Moses.

 14 Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I
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Birthdate: September 7, 1533
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: March 24, 1603

 15 Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: April 16, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
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.

 16 Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda
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Famous As: Indian Monk
Birthdate: January 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Indian
Died: July 4, 1902

The founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math, Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, and spiritual leader. He is credited with introducing the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western world. He is also credited with elevating the status of Hinduism as a major religion in the modern world by raising interfaith awareness.

 17 Ezra

Ezra
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Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality: Iraqi

 18 Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama
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Famous As: Spiritual Leader of Tibet
Birthdate: July 6, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Tibetan
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.

 19 St Paul

St Paul
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Famous As: Religious Preacher
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Nationality: Italian, Turkish
Died: 0067 AD

 20 Paul of Tarsus

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

 21 Abraham

Abraham
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality:

Abraham is an important historical character, considered one of the fathers of the human race by the Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Abrahamic religions believe that Abraham was in contact with God; his story and life events have inspired several important paintings, sculptures, works of literature, and music.

 22 Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mary, Mother of Jesus
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Famous As: Mother of Jesus
Birthdate: September 8, 0018
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Israeli

 23 David Miscavige

David Miscavige
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Famous As: Leader of the Church of Scientology
Birthdate: April 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

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.

 24 Sai Baba of Shirdi

Sai Baba of Shirdi
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Famous As: Spiritual Guru
Birthdate: September 28, 1835
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 15, 1918

Sai Baba of Shirdi was an important and influential Indian spiritual master. Identified both as a Muslim fakir and a Hindu saint, Sai Baba's teachings are still relevant among Muslim and Hindu communities around the world. While Shri Sai remains a common name for establishments in India, his temples are also located in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Asia.

 25 David Koresh

David Koresh
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: August 17, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: April 19, 1993
David Koresh was the leader of the religious sect Branch Davidians. The self-proclaimed prophet was accused of rape and child abuse, and also fathered 15 children through various women of the sect. He and over 70 followers died in a fire during the Waco Siege launched by the FBI.

 26 Thomas More

Thomas More
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Famous As: Catholic Saint
Birthdate: February 7, 1478
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1535
Lawyer, philosopher, and poet Thomas More, author of Utopia, had served as the British Lord Chancellor for 3 years. He opposed Henry VIII's separation from the Catholic Church and refused to take the Oath of Supremacy. He was thus beheaded for treason. Pope Pius XI later declared him a martyr.

 27 Saint Peter

Saint Peter
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 0001 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: 0068 AD

One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, Saint Peter played a key role in the formation of Christianity as one of the earliest leaders of the early Church. Considered to be the first Pope by Catholics, Saint Peter appears frequently in influential texts, such as the New Testament. Over the years, Saint Peter has been an important subject of paintings.

 28 Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak
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Famous As: Sikh Guru
Birthdate: April 15, 1469
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Indian
Died: September 22, 1539

Guru Nanak was the founder of one of the most popular monotheistic religions of the Indian subcontinent, Sikhism. Widely regarded as the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, Nanak contributed 974 hymns to the religion's sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak is worshipped by Sikhs around the world and his birth is celebrated as Guru Nanak Gurpurab.

 29 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.

 30 St. Augustine

St. Augustine
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 13, 0354
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: August 28, 0430

Saint Augustine was a philosopher, theologian, and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Roman North Africa. His writings are often credited with influencing the growth of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He is also regarded as one of the Latin Church's most important Church Fathers in the Patristic Period. Among his many important works are Confessions and On Christian Doctrine.

 31 Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 15, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Indian

 32 Thomas Cardinal Wolsey

Thomas Cardinal Wolsey
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Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: February 29, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: November 29, 1530

 33 Ali Khamenei

Ali Khamenei
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Famous As: Supreme Leader of Iran
Birthdate: July 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Iranian
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.

 34 John The Baptist

John The Baptist
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Famous As: Jewish Preacher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality: Israeli

 35 Ayatollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Khomeini
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Famous As: Led the Famous Iranian Revolution in 1979
Birthdate: September 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Iranian
Died: June 3, 1989

 36 Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh
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Famous As: Warrior
Birthdate: December 22, 1666
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 7, 1708

 37 Jacob

Jacob
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Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality: Syrian

 38 Nimrod

Nimrod
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Famous As: Biblical Figure
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality: Iraqi
Nimrod appears in the Bible as a ruler of Shinar, or Mesopotamia. Genesis and the Books of Chronicles state he was the son of Cush. Some sources link him to the Towel of Babel. He has been identified with countless real and mythical figures, such as the Mesopotamian god Ninurta.

 39 Jonathan Sacks

Jonathan Sacks
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Famous As: Rabbi, Politician
Birthdate: March 8, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 40 Ali ibn Abi Talib

Ali ibn Abi Talib
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Famous As: Prophet of Islam
Birthdate: September 15, 0601
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Died: January 29, 0661

 41 Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket
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Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: December 21, 1118
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: December 29, 1170

 42 Elijah Muhammad

Elijah Muhammad
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: October 7, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: February 25, 1975
Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad supported black nationalism for African-Americans. He was the leader of the religious movement known as the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975. He established the Muhammad University of Islam and was later imprisoned for it, based on complaints from various boards of education.

 43 Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti
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Famous As: Public Speaker & Philosopher
Birthdate: May 12, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: February 17, 1986

Jiddu Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher, speaker, and writer. Many years after his death, Krishnamurti's supporters oversee several schools based on his views and ideas. The Krishnamurti Foundation runs several schools in India and foreign countries. Among those who were influenced by his works were Toni Packer, Dada Dharmadhikari, and Achyut Patwardhan.

 44 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.

 45 Marshall Applewhite

Marshall Applewhite
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Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: May 17, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: March 26, 1997

 46 Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr
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Famous As: Companion of Muhammad
Birthdate: October 27, 0573
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Died: August 23, 0634

Abu Bakr was a companion and father-in-law of the founder of Islam, Muhammad. After Muhammad's death, Bakr played an important role in leading the Muslims as the first Rashidun Caliph. Under Abu Bakr’s leadership, the Muslim state expanded over the entire Arabian peninsula. Abu Bakr's work during his reign eventually led to the Muslim conquests of the Levant and Persia.

 47 Muhammad(Religious leader)

Muhammad(Religious leader)
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Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: April 22, 0571
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Died: June 8, 0632

 48 Jude the Apostle

Jude the Apostle
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Famous As: Apostle
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman

 49 Saint Jude

Saint Jude
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: 0001 AD
Nationality: Israeli, Ancient Roman
Died: October 28, 0070

 50 Carlo Maria Viganò

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