Monk List of Famous Monks

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This list of famous monks includes photos, bios, and other information, when available. Who are the top monks in the world? This includes the most prominent monks, living and dead, both in America and abroad. You might also enjoy these photos of monks enjoying beer or the cannibal Aghori monks of India. This list of notable monks is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic monks were born and what their nationality is. The monk names on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned monks.

Some of the famous monk names listed below include Grigori Rasputin, Martin Luther, and more. Whether you're looking to learn about female monks, Catholic monks, Chinese monks, Asian monks, Italian monks, Buddhist monks, or any other legendary monks, they're sure to be listed below. Even if you're looking for good, cool, or funny monk names, this list has them all. 

From reputable, prominent, and well known monks to, perhaps, a lesser-known monk name with which you aren't yet familiar, these are easily the most notable and famous monks throughout history. Who are the most famous monks ever? What are the names of famous monks? Read on to find out!

Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo:  Lucas Cranach the Elder/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Martin Luther was a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's ...more

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Age: Died at 63 (1483-1546)

Birthplace: Eisleben, Germany

Nationality: Holy Roman Empire

Profession: Priest, Theologian, Professor, Physician Monk, + more

Also Ranked

#17 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#40 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

#24 on The Most Influential People of All Time

#45 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

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Nhat Hanh is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. He coined the term Engaged Buddhism in his book Vietnam: Lotus in ...more

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Age: 90

Birthplace: Vietnam

Nationality: Vietnam

Profession: Pacifist, Poet, Monk, Writer Teacher

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Grigori Rasputin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian peasant, mystical faith healer and a trusted friend to the Tsar's family. He became an influential figure in Saint Petersburg, especially after August 1915 when Tsar Nicholas II took command of the army at the front. There is much uncertainty over Rasputin's ...more

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Age: Died at 47 (1869-1916)

Birthplace: Russia, Pokrovskoye

Nationality: Russia

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Gregor Mendel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Gregor Johann Mendel was a German-speaking Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the modern science of genetics. Though farmers had known for centuries that crossbreeding of animals and plants could favor certain desirable traits, Mendel's pea plant ...more

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Age: Died at 62 (1822-1884)

Birthplace: Hynčice, Czech Republic

Nationality: Austria-Hungary

Profession: Scientist, Monk, Botanist

Also Ranked

#37 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#41 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

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Brendan Smyth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License

Brendan Smyth was a Roman Catholic priest who became notorious as a child molester, using his position in the Roman Catholic Church to obtain access to his victims. During a period of over 40 years, Smyth sexually abused and indecently assaulted over 143 children in parishes in Belfast, Dublin and ...more

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Age: Died at 70 (1927-1997)

Birthplace: Belfast, United Kingdom

Profession: Priest, Monk

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John Main is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Imgur

John Main OSB was a Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who presented a way of Christian meditation which utilised a prayer-phrase or mantra. In 1975 Main began Christian meditation groups which met at Ealing Abbey, his monastery in West London, England and, later, in Montreal, Canada. These ...more

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Age: Died at 56 (1926-1982)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Profession: Priest, Monk

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Richard of Wallingford is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Richard of Wallingford was an English mathematician who made major contributions to astronomy/astrology and horology while serving as abbot of St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. ...more

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Age: Died at 44 (1292-1336)

Birthplace: Wallingford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Nationality: England

Profession: Mathematician, Monk, Astrologer, Astronomer

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Thich Quang Duc is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Monks
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA

Thich Quang Duc

Thích Quảng Đức, was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Quang Duc was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm. Photographs of his self-immolation were circulated ...more

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Age: Died at 66 (1897-1963)

Birthplace: Hội Khánh, Vietnam

Nationality: Vietnam

Profession: Monk

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