˜My people are poor and I am one of them'. The 266th and the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is known the world over for his great humility and approachability. Ordained as Pope at the age of 76 on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis is the first citizen from the Americas, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest to be named Pope. Before taking up the honourable appointment, he served as the Archbishop and Cardinal of Buenos Aires. He was originally christened Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Ever since his attainment of priesthood, Pope Francis has continuously and tirelessly worked for the well-being of the poor, which he claims to be his foremost concern. Furthermore, he is committed to bridge the gap between people of various backgrounds, class, beliefs and faith through peaceful talks. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis has chosen an informal approach to office since the Papal elections. He has declined to most luxuries offered to a Pope and instead prefers to live a simple and humble lifestyle. A few examples of the same include his decision to put up at the Vatican guesthouse rather than the papal residence, choosing a simple car rather than flashy popemobiles, wearing the white Cossack instead of the red mozzetta and iron pectoral cross instead of the gold one on his first appearance as a pontiff. Pope Francis strongly supports and considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church. While his radical thought on humbleness, practice of simplicity and austerity towards working out a robust defense of the poor has garnered positive accolades and acclaim, it is his staunch orthodox discerning against abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception that has drawn criticism from a select few.
Clad in a white, blue-bordered sari, she along with her sisters of the Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of love, care and compassion for the world. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, known the world over as Mother Teresa, was an Albanian-born Indian citizen who abided by her religious faith of Roman Catholicism to serve the unwanted, unloved and uncared people of the world. One of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, she led all her life serving the poorest of the poor. She was a ray of hope for many, including the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families. Blessed with profound empathy, unwavering commitment and unshakable faith since young, she turned her back to the worldly pleasures and focussed on serving the mankind ever since she was 18. After years of service as a teacher and mentor, Mother Teresa experienced a call within her religious call, which changed her course of life completely, making her what she is known as today. Founder of the Missionaries of Charity, with her fervent commitment and incredible organizational and managerial skills, she developed an international organization that aimed towards helping the impoverished. For her service to the humanity she was honoured with Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She was canonised by Pope Francis on 4 September 2016.
Often considered as one of the most significant leaders of African-American Muslim citizens, Malcolm X did his part to inspire many blacks across the United States, to strive for personal freedom. His inspiration came when, in his childhood, his father was seemingly killed by whites, and Malcolm was left an orphan. Also, as a kid, his teachers showed no confidence in him despite his exceptional academic performance. His dream of becoming a lawyer was shattered when it was suggested that carpentry would be a better profession for a black. Initially inspired by his stepsister Ella, he found himself employment, but soon took to unfair means of earning money. During his term at the prison, he was introduced to the tenets preached by the religious organization, 'Nation of Islam'. He was highly motivated by the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, proceeding to spread the same message to others. He soon became famous, but was also often the subject of scrutiny for controversial comments. It was only after leaving the 'Nation of Islam' that he worked hard to attain unity, and gained popularity. He also earned his share of enemies, who eventually assassinated him during one of his public addresses. Even today, this activist is held in high regard by some of the most distinguished human rights leaders
Remembered for his role in bringing about apparent miracles and for his frequent, secret bestowal of gifts, this fourth-century saint inspired the modern Santa Claus character traditionally associated with the Christmas holiday.
Armand Jean du Plessis, commonly known as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French noble, statesman and clergyman. Often referred as the ˜l'Ã‰minence rouge' or the ˜Red Eminence', he remained a bishop and the foreign secretary of France before rising to power as the chief minister in the regency of King Louis XIII. He sought to eliminate royal factions and aided for consolidation of regal power. He successfully reformed the country into a powerful centralised state by restricting the power of the nobles. He strengthened the army and the navy, made sure that France held a dominating position in the ˜Thirty Years' War' in Europe and resorted to restrict the power of the Habsburg dynasty. He aided in establishing French colonies. While a devoted cardinal, he never backed off in tying up with Protestant rulers to reach his objective. He faced several challenges as the chief minister including ˜Day of the Dupes', a conspiracy of the King's mother Marie de Medici, but was triumphant as he took the King into confidence. His was also a great patron of arts.
Billy Graham is an American Southern Baptist evangelist, known for preaching the message of Christianity around the world. He was one of the leading preachers of Christianity in the 1900s. In his childhood, he was greatly influenced by an evangelist and decided to devote his entire life to the service of Christianity. He was baptized twice in his lifetime and after his graduation, he started spreading the message of his community to various sections of the society through revival meetings and crusades. His ideology and thinking have been appreciated as well as criticized by people around the world. With the demonstrated fragility of life, people turned to spirituality for comfort, and he illuminated their path. He established a professional ministry and expanded his community through various means of communication. He also contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement and Lausanne Movement. He has appeared on the Gallup organization's list of most admired men and women a staggering 57 times! He is regarded by his contemporaries as a witty, non-judgmental, genuine, innocent and patient human being always working for the betterment of humanity. He is a religious icon for the future generations to follow because of his devotion towards the supreme power and teachings to live one's life with peace and harmony.
German theological scholar and priest who sparked the 16th century Protestant Reformation when he criticized the Catholic Church's sale of indulgence in his 95 theses, which he nailed to the door of a church in 1517.
Pope John Paul I was the Pope from 26 August 1978 to his sudden death on 28 September 1978. His reign of 33 days is among the shortest in papal history. Despite being very short, his reign was one that radiated warmth, love, faith, hope and humanity. Even in his short tenure, he left a lasting imprint on the minds and hearts of the people. His ideologies reflected the spirit of humanity and showcased the immense love and warmth that he had for the people. He started a legacy with his actions that soon made him one-of-a-kind leader. He became the first pope to abandon the flamboyant coronation service and instead had a simple Papal Inauguration, matching his simplistic personality and humble self. Furthermore, he was the first to use a double name (John Paul) as his papal name. In addition, he was also the first pope to add the regnal number ˜I', thus designating himself as ˜the First'. Also, he was the first pope in decades to not have previously held either a diplomatic role or Curial role. It was for his dedicated service to mankind that his successor, Pope John Paul II declared him a Servant of God. Pope John Paul I, in his short tenure, insisted on living a simple life and being helpful and humble. His principles and ideologies have been looked upon highly by his successors and have made him a much loved figure in history.
The longest living Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th and the present Dalai Lama and holds the profile of a spiritual and political leader of Tibet. Head monk of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, Dalai Lamas are said to be reincarnated souls in the line of tulkus, who are considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion. Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and in the tradition of Bodhisattva, Dalai Lamas are said to spend their entire life committed to promoting humanity. These souls chose to be reincarnated instead of attaining ˜nirvana' for the benefit of the society and mankind. Dalai Lama is a combination of Mongolian word, Dalai and Tibetan word lama. While former means ocean, the latter stands for teacher. Since 1391 until date, there have been 14 Dalai Lamas, from the first Gedun Drupa until the present Tenzin Gyatso. Coming back to the 14th Dalai Lama, he was appointed at the age of two and was formally recognized when he was 15. Fearing assassination, he fled from Tibet and stationed himself and thousands of refugees in Dharmasala Himachal Pradesh. He established the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and has been an advocator for the Tibetan across the globe. Ever since his enthronement, he has strived to make Tibet an independent and democratic state, free from the dominance by People's Republic of China. He strongly preaches as well as practices the importance of non-violence and peace and significance of compassion. For his outstanding achievements and relentless work on peace, he has been bestowed with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Pastor of The Potter House, a megachurch with 30,000 members, whose sermons are broadcast all over the world on numerous stations, including Trinity Broadcasting Network and Black Entertainment Television.
Religious leader and author who became the sixteenth President of the Church of Latter-day Saints in 2008.
Guru Nanak was an Indian saint who founded Sikhism and became the first of the Sikh Gurus. A visionary and a great soul, he was an original spiritual thinker. His religious ideas draw on both Hindu and Islamic thoughts, but are also unique in their own right. Born into a Hindu family in 15th century India, he started displaying signs of his greatness early on in childhood. Even as a boy he used to spend long hours in meditation and was deeply spiritual. He questioned the meaningless rituals his family performed in the name of religion and refused to participate in them. His radical spirituality shocked his parents and they tried to involve him in worldly matters. The kind-hearted young boy distributed his father's money to the poor and needy thus greatly angering his pragmatic father who hoped that his son would one day become a businessman. Even an arranged marriage at an early age did not prevent Nanak from venturing further on the spiritual path. Eventually he went on to found Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that advocates the concept of the oneness of God. He traveled far and wide, mostly on foot, spreading the message of oneness of God who dwells in all living beings.
Nick Vujicic, famous for his inspirational speeches, was born without limbs in his body. However, instead of letting his disability deter his everyday life, he took it as a challenge, using it to change millions of lives with the same faith that kept him going. As a child of ten, he always wondered why he was different from others, and decided to drown himself since he saw no purpose to his living. However, he stopped himself in time, thinking of his loving parents and how much it would hurt them to see him dead. From then on, there was no looking back for this young man, who now has founded his own organization, called ˜Life Without Limbs'. He has released motivational films, like 'Life's Greater Purpose' and 'Biography of a Determined Man of Faith'. He has also written a book titled 'Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life'. This speaker has even acted in a short film, ˜The Butterfly Circus', earning the film three awards, and bagging one himself, for his brilliant portrayal of a man very much like himself, who is given a second chance to love himself. He is a devout Christian, believing that God loves everyone equally, and has taken it upon himself to spread the message to everyone around the world
Pope Benedict XVI served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. He is the first Pope to have resigned since Gregory XII in the year 1415. During his papacy, Pope Benedict promoted the use of Latin and supported Christian values. He also came to be known for his rather conservative views on Catholicism and homosexuality. He has strong views about modern sins, describing the hunger for power and denial of moral truth as the main causes of problems in the 21st century. He is the first Pope to have been active on Twitter and to have attended full length television and radio interviews. Described as a highly intellectual person by many, he was a professor of theology and an academic, prior to being a Cardinal. He has received numerous honours for his contributions in the fields of literature and theology. Pope Benedict XVI also reinstated the use of traditional papal garments that had been dismissed by John Paul II and is often described as ˜The Pope of aesthetics'. Benedict XVI holds the title of Pope Emeritus since his resignation from the papal office.
Remembered best as the original wife of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) founder <a title='Joseph Smith' href='/famous/joseph-smith.htm'>Joseph Smith</a>, this Pennsylvania-born woman is also notable for her leadership of the Ladies' Relief Society of Nauvoo (Illinois).
American religious leader, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and translator of the Book of Mormon.
Zeena Schreck is an American performer, visual artist, author, photographer, and the founder and the current spiritual leader of the Sethian Liberation Movement (SLM). Presently residing in Berlin, she uses the mononym ˜Zeena' for her artistic pursuits. Her parents were the co-founders of the Church of Satan and she grew up under constant media glare in the 1960s and 1970s. Her artistic gifts were recognized early in her life and multiple teachers helped her polish that treasure trove of raw talent. In the 1980s, with the advent of the moral panic surrounding satanic ritual abuse, Schreck reluctantly became the church's spokesperson. She served in the same capacity until 1990 and then she resigned from the church. Subsequently, she adopted Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and later embraced the ancient religious practice of worshipping the Egyptian god Seth. Her personal philosophy has evolved over the course of years, effectively changing her aesthetic sensibilities as well. As an artist, she is a devoted follower of the tradition that imbues mysticism and magic into creativity. She has written books, released albums, both as a solo artist and part of the group Radio Werewolf, made documentaries, and has an extensive body of work as an illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer. After 24-year hiatus from musical performances, Schreck made her return in 2013 at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen music festival.
Nun of the Discalced Carmelite order well known for her work with the chronically ill, as well as with children. She was canonized as Saint Teresa of the Andes in 1993.
Born Francesco Forgione he was a Capuchin Catholic priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.
Pastor best known as the leader of the Manhattan branch of the international Hillsong church network. His open-minded teachings have earned him a massive social media following, with more than 160,000 Twitter followers and over 600,000 Instagram followers.
Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who served as the first black Archbishop of Cape Town. A leading spokesperson for the rights of black South Africans, he helped to draw international attention to the sorry state of apartheid in South Africa. Born into an impoverished family in Transvaal, he grew up watching people of color being discriminated against for no fault of theirs. Even though he was young, it did not take him long to realize that it was wrong to mistreat someone just because their skin color was different. As a teenager, he aspired to be a doctor but could not pursue medical studies due to lack of funds. He then studied to become a teacher. He worked for a few years during which he tried his best to encourage his students to become the best that they can be. Alongside he also studied theology and was ordained as a priest. At that time South Africa was reeling under apartheid and black South Africans were grossly discriminated against in all aspects of life. Frustrated, he became active in the anti-apartheid movement and soon emerged as outspoken advocate of black rights. He soon garnered international fame for his works and was honored with the 1984 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Pastor, gospel singer, and television star best recognized as an associate pastor at Lakewood Church. He has hosted the John Gray World television program and appeared in Fox's The Preachers.