Spiritual Leaders of Various Religions and Sects

Know about spiritual leaders of various religions sects. There are many kinds of religions and sect in the world. And each religion is lead by spiritual leaders. In most instances, these people are chosen by the people or are believed to be called by their “gods” to lead or guide their followers to what they think is righteous.

Clergy is the body of group of person ordained for religious services or leadership, such as clergyman or the cleric (member of the clergy as the priest, preacher, pastor and other professional religious leaders. The clergy’s duty is to take care of the rituals of religious life, teach and spread the doctrine and practices of religion where they are members. Oftentimes the clergy are in charge of the sacrament of baptism,circumcision (in some religions) and death and funeral rites and marriages. There are ranges of clergy, may it be formal and informal positions such as deacons, priests, ministers and pastors, bishops and cardinals in Christianity religions. Imams and Ayatollahs are the religious clergy of Shi’a Islam.

1) The Christians Clergy/ Regular Clergy Category

The Pope, is the Bishop and the father of the Vatican City in Rome and the leader of the Worldwide Catholic church and regarded as ST Peter’s successor, the Apostle, and was elected by the cardinals in a papal conclave. During election people around the world watch who will be chosen as the next Pope or Father of Rome. When the black smoke emits from the Sistine Chapel chimney, it means, there was no pope elected; but when white smoke emits from the chimney it means, a new Pope was elected and the St Peter’s Basilica Cathedral bells will be ringing.




The Deacon in a “diaconate” or Deacon’s office, a clerical office as a minister or servant of the church work with the laity (person who is not in the clergy and not ordained as legitimate clergy like the nuns, lay brother of the church). Deacon’s are ordained priest, and clergy with the lowest rank.

Priest or Canon





Canon or Priest are minister of the church, member of the Clergy bodies of an Ecclesiastical rules. Priests can officiate services for their parishioners like in baptism, marriages, funerals and blessing and anointing the sick and the dying person.

Bishops and Archbishops



The Bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy, given the position of authority or solemn dedication to a special religious purpose and services. The role of Bishops or “episkopos” are very important and every Episcopal see have their own bishop and their presence are very important.


Cardinal Deacon: are the officials of the Roman Curia or priests promoted after their 80th birthday. They have the lowest rank Cardinals promoted to Diaconal order and bishops with pastoral duties and maybe promoted to Cardinal Priest.

Cardinal Priest or Cardinal Protopriest this title are given to the cardinal according to date of his priesthood, and they the most Senior Cardinal Priest in the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal Bishop or Cardinals of the Episcopal Order, are the most senior high ranking of the clergy of the Catholic Church. Holding the duty of a Suburbicarian sees and Dean of the College of the Cardinals.

Cardinal Proto-Deacon or Senior Cardinal Deacon, is a member of the clergy and appointed to the College of Cardinals, and given the privilege to announce the new elected Pope, once ordained in Episcopal, from the balcony of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.

2) Ordination the process of individuals, in consecration and sanctification set apart as clergy and can perform ceremonies and rites. Ordination rites are done in various religion rituals or practices. The Ordinand must be well prepared for their ordination ceremony.


Ordination of Priestess







3) Nun is a woman who have taken her vow to commit herself to religious life as her chosen vocation, leaving the worldly pleasure of her life and the society. Nuns ate applicable to the Catholics, but also used by Christians, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Jains, Buddhist and Taoist.

Mother Theresa was born and raised as Roman Catholic, a nun of Alabanian and Indian ethnicity, who devoted her forty-five years in serving the sick and dying, orphans, the poor people in India until her death on September 5, 1997. She was beatified by Pope John Paul ll as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.



4) Chaplains are also member of the clergy such as ministers, pastors, priests, imams or even lay member of the church, performing religious duties of officiating a mass, bible study and other activities in some institutions like hospitals, universities, prison, police department, military unit (especially in war zone areas) or private chapels. They represent the Christian faith and spread the word of God.




5) Pastors and Ministers


Pastors and Ministers are ordained leader of the Christian congregations especially in Protestant churches, and referred to as priests and bishops like the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox church. Pastor are abbreviated as Pr. , and means “shepherd“. In the New Testament, the Pastor’s duty is referred to as the “elder” of the Christian community and called “Ministers”, meaning servant or attendant, (authorized by the Church or religious organization to fulfill its duty in teaching, services such as baptism, marriages, funeral services and spiritual guidance to their community). (image credit:http://ph..images)

Speaking in Tongues or Glossolalia

Speaking Tongues (glossolalia) when one person suddenly speak a foreign language which is not his/her national dialect. Such as a Pentecostal believer who can vocalize fluent or articulate a natural languages called “Xenoglossy” , a paranormal phenomenon for a person who could able to write and speak languages that are not unknown to them. The Xenoglossy took place in a Pentecost according the the New Testament.


6) Kohen or Kohaim (Jewish Priest)

The Jewish priest are called Kohen, traditionally follow the Jewish Law and most of Kohens are required to follow the Halakha (Jewish Law and biblical law (the Mitzvot d’oraita), religious customs and traditions. The Kohanim are priest with Kohen family member. Cohen is a Jewish surname from the bible and bearing the surname belongs to the paternal family member who were priest in the Temple of Jerusalem.
7) Haredi Jewish and Rabbi


Haredi or Haredim (plural) are the most conservative group of Orthodox Judaism or known as ultra-Orthodox. Haredim and Zionism ( a group of the Jewish political movement supporting the self -determination of the Jewish) was always been difficult to unity. Israelis hated Haredim group according to 2006 studies.

Rabbi Shalom Yosef Eliashiv is a Haredi rabbi and arbiter of the Jewish Law (Posek) and now living in Jerusalem, Israel.


Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, considred as the most important Halkhic authority, a former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, an Iraqi born, and recognized as Talmudic scholar (teachings of Judaism and Posek authority).



8) Imam and Ayatollah of Islam


Imam is the title given to Islamic leader of a mosque of a Muslim community and leads Islamic services. But imam for the Sunni Muslims are the person who leads Islamic worship, prayers and Friday sermons are for those appointed imams of the Muslim community.

The Ayatollah are the high ranking title for Muslim leaders given to Usuli Twelver Shi’ah clerics, and the Ayatollahs are expert in Islamic teachings of ethics, philosophy and jurisprudence. Ayatollah are the teachers of the Hawza or hawza ilmiyya (Islamic seminaries).

Seyed Mohammad Khatami an Iranian scholar and Hojatoleslams, and became the 5th President of Iran from 1997 to 2005. The Hojotoleslam wal-muslimin or Hujjat al-Islam, are the lower clerical rank, given to Twelver Shi’ah clerics, which means “authority of Islam” or “Proof of Islam”.

8) 9)  Jehovah Witness


Jehovah Witness come into existence from the Bible Student movement founded by Pastor Charles Taze Russell in the late 1870′s, with the Zion Watch Tower Tract Society formation, with changes of doctrines and organization after Russell’s death and Joseph Franklin Rutherford’ leadership. Jehovah Witnesses are best known for their house to house preaching and distribution of Watchtower and Awake! pamphlets (or literature). They refused blood transfusions and military services such as salute to national flags. They don’t celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Easter and other holidays and traditional traditions believing it is a pagan origin. They don’t believe in Christian doctrine of the Trinity of God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, as the three Divine Person of God.

10) Parsi Priest


Parsi or Parsee are members of the Zoroastrian communities of South Asia, and group of Zoroastrian descendants who immigrated from Iran from the Muslim’s persecution, and they are the Irani (ethno-religious group). The fire temple of the Zoroastrian devotion form in “aban” or clean water or “apas” (hypostases of water) and served as agent of ritual purity and used “clean-white ash” for their ceremonies. They used undergarment called Sedreh or sudreh in Avestan term with tied around their waist is a sacred belt called kushti.

11) Dalai Lama


The high lama in the Gelug or the “Yellow-Hat” in a Buddhism branch is called the Dalai Lama. A combination name from the Mongolian word “dalai”, which means ocean and Tibetan “blama” or lama, which means “teacher’ or in Indian word guru.

12) Gyuto Monks or Gyume

The Gyuto or Gyume monks are best know for their chordal chanting or singing of the Gelug Order, The Reformed Church of he Tibetan Buddhism. The Gyuto Tantric University is considered as one of the most monastic seminary of the Gelug or Gelug-pa, better known as the Yellow Hat Sect and Father.

The Ganden monks of the Ganden monastery where direct descent from ancestors, and held by Golden Tripas or the Throne holder of the Ganden Monastery in Tibet.

13) Korean Shamanism





The Mugyo or Mu religion is the former Shamanism or sometimes called Singyo (Sinism), the religion of gods divided by the Chinese shien where different beliefs and practices followed by the Korean followers. Mudang is the shaman of Muism, in which mostly are women acting as intercessors between the gods and the people, and willing to help in the Spirit world. Shamans or Mudangs hold a “gut” (services to gain good fortune to their community, cure the sick, exorcism of lost spirit or evil spirits for the village and gods.




14) Chinese Monks


Laozi or Lao Tzu a Chinese philosopher of ancient China and the founder of Toism (Daoism), a philosophical religious established to have harmony, with Tao (way, path or route) to doctrine or principle. The Toist ethics and propriety of The Three Jewels of the Tao which includes humility, compassion, and moderation and nature.

15) Indian Priests

Purohitas priest , are Indian priest performing the personal sacrament and rituals of the Purohitas and settle the lucky and unlucky days to begin an expedition to turn away by “mantrams” , perform prayers, curses and spells, and other bad influences and elements, purifying an unclean person. Rituals are done by the Brahman purohitas.




16) Sikhs

The five Ks, or Panj Kakaar/ kakke are the five articles of Faith and baptized as Sikhs or known as Khalsa Sikhs, and are obliged to wear at all times their dastor turbans as oredred on the day of Baisakhi Amrit Sanskar in 1699 by the tenth Sixth Guru. These symbolizes for representation and indentifying the ideals of Sikhism like the equality, fidelity, militarism, meditation, honesty and never bow to tyranny (a government with single leader or ruler vested with absolute power). The five K symbols are: Kesh-uncut hair, tied and wrapped in Dastar), Kanga- the wooden comb worn under the Sikh’s turbans, Kara- iron bracelet which symbolized eternity, Kachera-underwear made of cotton as a reminder of purity, and the Kirpan- a curved sword with different sizes or small daggers, but Punjab Sikhs used the traditional curved sword.

Nihang Sikhs

17) Sadhu Monks





Sadhus or Hindi ascetics also known as “Wandering monks” dedicated their life as monks, to achieve liberation (moksa), the fourth and final asrama or stage of life, and devote their time meditating and contemplating of the Brahman. Sadhus are identified by their ochre-colored clothing, which symbolized the renunciation (Sanyasa). Sadhus smoked the “sacred charas”, harsh for of cannabis or better known as marijuana.

18) Aghori Monks

The Aghori ascetics are devotees of Hindu god Shiva forming as Lord Bhairava, are monks who believed in Moksha (freedom) from the cycle of Samsara (reincarnation). Aghora or Aghori are Hindu sect monks with beliefs to have divided from Kapalika Order (which begun from 1000 AD until the 14th Century AD, and that the Aghori are inhabitants of the charnel ground or important place for the Sadhana, monks performing rituals. Aghoris call themselves priest and Hindu Sects doing alchoholic and cannibalistic rituals, eating corpses pulled out from the sacred rivers like Ganges river or from the cremation site, consuming the corpses flesh raw or cooked. “Dead man” for the Aghoris are only natural matters and should be consumed, and cover their body with the corpses cremated ashes. Most of Aghoris live in caves, forests and temples leaving behind material and sexual attachments from the outside world.

Japanese Sadhana


The Shugendo Sadhana are the fusion of various religious beliefs as in philosophy of their religion. The Shugendo lives in the mountains meditating and devote their life as hermits.
19) Shinto Priests






The kannushi or Shinshoku (Shinto Priest), they maintain the Jinja (Shinto Shrine) and lead the prayers and worship of a given spirits (kami), natural forces, and essence of the Shintoism faith. Kannushi are also called Jinshu with the same meaning. The Miko (Shaman woman) also known as spirit mediums who carry oracles from the spirits or gods (kami). Miko means Shrine maiden virgin consecrated to a diety, and serve in the Shinto Shrine.

20) Wandering Monks or Mendicants clergy

Friars are member of the Mendicant order, who choose to devote their life in vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to serve the community, but lives in donations and alms.














Dervish monks, known for extreme poverty, austerity same with the mendicant friars in Christianity, Budhhist priests/monks, Hindu priest, Jain monks and Sadhu monks. The Sufi whirling monks, or called Turkish whirling Dervish of Mevlevi Order, they whirl as form of Sama or meditation which originated from the Sufis or Dervish.






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