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List of Famous Monks

Updated June 14, 2019 347.7k views60 items

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 Luther1

    Martin Luther

    Dec. at 63 (1483-1546)

    BirthplaceEisleben, Germany

    Martin Luther, , (; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a... more on Wikipedia

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  • Nhat Hanh2

    Nhat Hanh

    Age: 94


    Thích Nhất Hạnh (; Vietnamese: [tʰǐk̟ ɲə̌t hâjŋ̟ˀ] (listen); born as Nguyễn Xuân Bảo on... more on Wikipedia

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  • Grigori Rasputin3

    Grigori Rasputin

    Dec. at 47 (1869-1916)

    BirthplacePokrovskoye, Russia

    Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (; Russian: Григо́рий Ефи́мович Распу́тин [ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲɪj... more on Wikipedia


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  • Gregor Mendel4

    Gregor Mendel

    Dec. at 62 (1822-1884)

    BirthplaceHynčice, Czech Republic

    Gregor Johann Mendel (Czech: Řehoř Jan Mendel; 20 July 1822 – 6 January 1884) (English: ) was... more on Wikipedia
  • Brendan Smyth5

    Brendan Smyth

    Dec. at 70 (1927-1997)

    BirthplaceBelfast, United Kingdom

    Brendan Smyth O.Praem (8 June 1927 – 22 August 1997) was a Roman Catholic priest from Belfast,... more on Wikipedia
  • John Main6

    John Main

    Dec. at 56 (1926-1982)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    John Main OSB was a Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who presented a way of... more on Wikipedia
  • Richard of Wallingford7

    Richard of Wallingford

    Dec. at 44 (1292-1336)

    BirthplaceWallingford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

    For the Constable of Wallingford Castle, see Richard of Wallingford.Richard of Wallingford... more on Wikipedia
  • Thich Quang Duc8

    Thich Quang Duc

    Dec. at 66 (1897-1963)

    BirthplaceHội Khánh, Vietnam

    Thích Quảng Đức (Vietnamese: [tʰǐk̟ kʷâːŋ ɗɨ̌k] (listen); 1897 – 11 June 1963; born Lâm Văn... more on Wikipedia
  • Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow9

    Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow

    Dec. at 79 (1929-2008)

    BirthplaceTallinn, Estonia

    Patriarch Alexy II (or Alexius II, Russian: Патриарх Алексий II; secular name Aleksei... more on Wikipedia
  • Buddha10
    Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम Siddhāṛtha Gautama, c. 563/480 – c. 483/400 BCE)... more on Wikipedia

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  • Benedetto Pallavicino11

    Benedetto Pallavicino

    Dec. at 50 (1551-1601)

    BirthplaceCremona, Italy

    Benedetto Pallavicino (c. 1551 – 26 November 1601) was an Italian composer and organist of the... more on Wikipedia
  • Attilio Ariosti12

    Attilio Ariosti

    Dec. at 63 (1666-1729)

    BirthplaceBologna, Italy

    Attilio Malachia Ariosti (or Frate Ottavio) (5 November 1666 – 1729) was a Servite Friar and... more on Wikipedia
  • Charles Sydney Gibbes13

    Charles Sydney Gibbes

    Dec. at 87 (1876-1963)

    BirthplaceRotherham, United Kingdom

    Charles Sydney Gibbes (19 January 1876 – 24 March 1963) was a British academic who from 1908... more on Wikipedia
  • William of Gellone14

    William of Gellone

    Dec. at 57 (755-812)


    William of Gellone (c. 755 – 28 May 812 or 814 AD), the medieval William of Orange, was the... more on Wikipedia
  • Matthieu Ricard15

    Matthieu Ricard

    Age: 74

    BirthplaceAix-les-Bains, France

    Matthieu Ricard (Nepali: माथ्यु रिका, born 15 February 1946) is a French writer, photographer,... more on Wikipedia
  • Cesare Bonizzi16

    BirthplaceOffanengo, Italy

    Father Cesare Bonizzi, O.F.M. Cap. (born 15 March 1946), also known as Frate Cesare and... more on Wikipedia
  • Bede Griffiths17

    Bede Griffiths

    Dec. at 87 (1906-1993)

    BirthplaceWalton-on-Thames, United Kingdom

    Bede Griffiths, OSB Cam., (17 December 1906 – 13 May 1993), born Alan Richard Griffiths and... more on Wikipedia
  • U Gambira18

    U Gambira

    Age: 41


    U Gambira (Burmese: ရှင်ဂမ္ဘီရ; born 19 June 1979) is a former Buddhist monk, activist and a... more on Wikipedia
  • Thích Quảng Độ19


    Thích Quảng Độ (born 27 November 1928) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and patriarch of the... more on Wikipedia
  • Lou Tseng-Tsiang20

    Lou Tseng-Tsiang

    Dec. at 78 (1871-1949)

    BirthplaceZhejiang, China

    Lou Tseng-Tsiang or Lu Zhengxiang (Lù Zhēngxiáng) (Chinese: 陸徵祥; 12 June 1871 – 15 January... more on Wikipedia
  • Nanavira Thera21

    Nanavira Thera

    Dec. at 45 (1920-1965)

    BirthplaceAldershot, United Kingdom

    Ñāṇavīra Thera (born Harold Edward Musson; 5 January 1920 – 5 July 1965) was an English... more on Wikipedia
  • Thomas à Kempis22

    Thomas à Kempis

    Dec. at 91 (1380-1471)

    BirthplaceKempen, Germany

    Thomas à Kempis, CRSA (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471), was a German-Dutch canon regular of the late... more on Wikipedia
  • Yunmen Wenyan23

    Yunmen Wenyan

    Dec. at 87 (862-949)

    BirthplaceJiaxing, China

    Yúnmén Wényǎn (862 or 864 – 949 CE; 雲門文偃; Japanese: うんもんぶんえん, Ummon Bun'en; also known in... more on Wikipedia
  • Fra Simone da Carnuli24

    Fra Simone da Carnuli

    Fra Simone da Carnuli (born 15th century) was an Italian (Genoese) painter. He was a... more on Wikipedia
  • Adrian Urmanov25

    BirthplacePloiești, Romania

    An important figure of the 2000s generation and the founder of the movement called...