Christmas. Passover, and Eid, oh my! When it comes to religion, these are some of the most recognized holidays. While they usually guarantee you a day off, they're usually created for or by some of the major figures of the religion. With all the religions in the world, could you match the figure to their religion?
If you were to travel all around the world, you'd find hundreds of religions. While it might be hard to identify the heads of their religion, there are a few religions that are practiced by millions and billions of people.
Christianity is the most-practiced religion in the world, with over 2.2 billion followers. Islam comes in second with 1.6 billion, while Hinduism is third with 1 billion. The top 10 of the list is rounded out with Buddhism (#4), Sikhism (#7), and Judaism (#8). Because these are some of the most followed faiths, their figures are easier to recognize than others. Can you match all the figures to these religions?
Jesus Christ is at the center of both Christianity and Judaism. Could you recognize him? Buddhism honors Siddhartha Gautama and Ashoka while Muslims honor the prophet Muhammad. While you might know their names, do you know their faces? We hope so!
Can you match these figures to their religion? Let's find out!
We're praying for you!
Sri Krishna is the incarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and is one of the central gods of Hinduism. During his lifetime, he reportedly performed numerous miracles – killing demons, purifying poisoned waters – all which led to his status as a god.
Laozi was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, known for writing the Tao Te Ching, a classic Chinese text central in the teaching of Taoism. Viewed as the founding father, he is a legendary figure in Chinese culture. His work is still being used in anti-authoritarian movements and Chinese Legalism.
Commonly referred to as one of the greatest religious innovators of all time, Guru Nanak is one of the first ten Sikh Gurus and the founding father of Sikhism. He spent much of his life traveling the world and spreading his unique teachings and the word of God to Muslims and Hindus.
Also known as Elder White, James Springer White was one of the four co-founders of the Seventh Day Adventist Christian denomination and husband to Ellen G. White. His influence includes the development of Battle Creek College, an Adventist educational structure formed in 1874.
Kong Qui, also known as Confucius or K’ung Fut-zu, was a Chinese teacher, philosopher, politician, editor and the founder of Confucianism. His principles and teachings are widely renowned and impacted many lives. His popular belief – The Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to you” is one of the most well-known sayings.
Zoroaster, was an ancient Iranian-speaking prophet whose teachings and innovations led to the first historically acknowledged religion, Zoroastrianism. His philosophy became the dominant religion in ancient Persia, though it eventually died out after Alexander the Great conquered and introduced Christianity in Persia.
Born Karol Józef Wojtyła, and commonly referred to as Saint John Paul the Great, this man was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 – 2005. He is renowned for his significant contributions to the Catholic Church by improving its relations to Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
Also known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, he is one of the most popular and influential religious figures in Christianity and Judaism. Believed to be born to a virgin mother, he traveled throughout many lands in the Middle East. He was later crucified by Roman leaders under the charges of blasphemy.
Siddhārtha Gautama, also known as Gautama Buddha, or Shakyamuni Buddha, is a central figure in Buddhism who lived and spread his teachings in ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th century BCE. Despite being born into royalty, he gave up his life of luxury in order to embark on a quest of understanding and enlightenment.
Also known as Paul the Apostle or Saul of Tarsus, Paul was a Roman citizen and Jew, who eventually converted to Christianity and later became one of Jesus’ most trusted and loyal apostles. He is one of the most popular and influential apostles, having 13-27 books in the New Testament attributed to his name.
Mani was an Iranian prophet and founder of the ancient gnostic religion Manichaeism. His teachings are based on the firm dualism of good and evil, and were made with the intentions of succeeding and surpassing the doctrines of Christianity.
Bodhidharma, also known as Daruma in Japan, was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century and credited for relaying knowledge of Chan Buddhism to China. Little is known about him, but it believed that he began the physical training of the monks in the Shaolin Monastery, leading to the creation of Shaolin Kung-Fu.
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah was a Sudanese religious leader of the Samaniyya Order and the self-proclaimed Mahdi – the prophesized redeemer of Islam who will rule for many years before the day of Judgement. During 1881 and 1885, he led a successful military campaign against the Turco-Egyptian Sudanese government and in the process gained many followers called the Ansars.
Saint Francis, born Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone and also known as Francesco, was an Italian Roman Catholic deacon, friar, and preacher. He is one of the most well-known saints and religious figures having founded the men’s Order of Friar Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, The Third Order of Saint Francis, and the Custody of the Holy Land.
Sri Chaitanya, also known as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was a spiritual leader and founder of the religious movement, Gaudiya Vaishnavism. He is believed to be one of Krishna’s many incarnations and by comparison, the most merciful, having taken on the form of his own followers.
Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, also known as Baal Shem Tov, the Holy Baal Shem, or simply Besht, was a Jewish mystical rabbi who is considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism. What little biographical information known about him, it is believed by many of his disciples that he is a descendant of the Davidic lineage and by extension the institution of the Jewish Messiah.
Set, also known as Sēth in Ancient Greek, is the Ancient Egyptian God of desert, storms, disorder, violence and foreigners and the lord of the red (desert) land where he balances Horus’ role as the lord of the black (soil) land. He is portrayed as a mysterious creature who resembles no known creature, though he could be seen as a blend of an arrdvark, donkey, jackal or a fennec fox.
John Wesley was an English Anglican cleric and theologian, who, along with his brother, Charles Wesley, and companion, George Whitefield, founded Methodism. Despite facing prosecution and being prevented from preaching at many parish churches, he eventually gained their respect and was later described as “the best-loved man in England”.
Born Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí, or more commonly referred to as Bahá'u'lláh, was the Persian founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Similar to other monotheistic religions, Bahá'u'lláh’s teachings believed God to be the source all creation and focused on the unity of God, religion and mankind.
Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope Saint John XXIII was the successor of Pius XII and head of the Catholic Church and Vatican City State from October 28, 1958 until his death on June 3, 1963. His feast day is celebrated on October 11, the day of first session of the Second Vatican Council.
Lhamo Thondup is the 14th and current Tibetan monk to earn the title Dalai Lama. At the age of 4, he was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama on February 22, 1940, but assumed full temporal political duties at the age of 15 on November 17, 1950.
Narendranath Datta, also known as Swami Vivekananda, was an Indian Hindu monk credited for the introduction of the Indian philosophies, Vedanta and Yoga, to the western world and raising awareness of Hinduism in India.
Mother Teresa or Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, known for her charitable work done during her lifetime. Despite this, she was surrounded by controversy; praised and criticised for her stand against abortion and poor housing conditions in her houses for the dying.
Bhagwan Mahavira (Mahāvīra), also referred to as Vardhamāna, was the 24th Tirthankara of the Jainism religion. In the search of a spiritual awakening, he abandoned all worldly possessions and became an ascetic. He practiced intense meditation and it’s believed by the Jains that he attained Nirvana.
Cotton Mather, born in Boston Massachusetts Bay Colony, was a socially and politically influential New England Puritan minister, preacher, historian, author and pamphleteer. Despite his many achievements, he is mostly remembered for his strong support of the Salem witch trials.
Martin Luther was a German theologian, composer, hymnologist, preacher and monk who became a fundamental figure in Protestantism, after rejecting several teachings and practises of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1520, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, and later condemned by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1521, after refusing to recant his writings which heavily criticised the Roman Catholic Church.
Joseph Smith Jr. was a religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Church of Christ (renamed the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints). He is easily one of the most controversial religious figures, who claimed to have received numerous visions from God.
Akhenaten, also known as Ahmenhotep IV, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, who is reputably noted for the abandonment of traditional Egyptian polytheism and later centering his worship on the sun-disk deity, Aten. His attempt to change Egypt’s traditional religion led to the people viewing him as an enemy and villain, which led to his name being excluded from the king lists.
John Smyth was an English Baptist minister and a defender of the belief of religious freedom. He is credited as a founder of the Baptist churches.
Mahātmā Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was and an Indian Hindu who led the Indian Independence movement against the British. He is unofficially referred to as the Father of the nation and became a source of inspiration for civil rights and freedom movements across the world.
Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian regent and later emperor whose regime was heavily criticised by many historians and human rights organizations. His influence led to the formation of the Rastafari Movement in Jamaica, whose followers believe he is the returned messiah, who with lead the world to a golden age of eternal peace, prosperity and righteousness.
Mary was a Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth who is revered and worshipped for being the mother of Jesus Christ. She received a vision from the angel Gabriel, who later told her of her destiny to be the mother of the Messiah who would be conceived through the Holy Spirit.
Horus is one the most important ancient Egyptian gods and was portrayed as a man with a falcon head or a lanner falcon or a peregrine falcon and is the god of the sky and kingship. He is described as the son of Isis (the goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) and Osiris (the god of the afterlife, death, life and resurrection) and became the heir to the throne after Osiris was murdered by Set.
Also known as the apostle of Ireland, Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British missionary and bishop who the feast of Saint Patrick’s is named for and is celebrated on March 17th, the supposed day of his death. Along with saints Brigit of Kildare and Columba, he is the patron saint of Ireland and highly celebrated in the Anglican Communion.
Adi Shankara was an 8th-century Indian philosopher and theologian who developed and revived the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and creating the main belief system in Hinduism. He did so by creating four monasteries which he used to spread his philosophies.
Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard, was a German Benedictine abbess, who was regarded as the founder of scientific natural history. She was also a writer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary and polymath and recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic church for centuries.
Charles Kingsley, was a broad-church priest of the Church of England, who is renowned for his association with Christian socialism, the working men’s college, and the creation of labour creatives which initially failed but eventually led to the working reforms of the progressive era.
Ayatollah Khomeini was an Iranian Shia Muslim religious leader, politician and philosopher who founded the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 1979, he became the leader of the Iranian Revolution, seeking to put an end to the 2500-year Persian monarchy rule and its ruler, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Nyanasamvara Suvaddhano was a Thai monk who became the 19th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. In 1989, he was appointed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and served up until his death shortly after his 100th birthday in 2013.
John Calvin, born Jehan Cauvin, was a French theologian, pastor and protestant, known for his influence during the Protestant Reformation in Geneva during the 16th century. His belief system and influence led to the creation of Christian theology, later known as Calvinism.
Thomas Cranmer was an English leader of the English Reformation, and Archbishop of Canterbury, during the rulership of Henry VII, Edward VI and for a short period of time, Mary I. Along with Thomas Cramwell, he backed up the dogma of Royal Supremacy, which considered the king sovereign over the church within its realm.
Born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez, also known as John of the Cross, was a primary figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar, a Spanish mystic, and priest. In 1726, he was declared a saint by Pope Benedict XIII and is one of the 36 Doctors of the Church.
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, was elected in 2005 by the Papal Conclave after the death of Pope John Paul II and served until his resignation in 2013. During his time as the Pope, he advocated for the for the return to important Christian values to combat the secularisation of many western countries.
Mary Baker Eddy was an American woman who is regarded as the founder of Christian Science in the latter half of the 19th century. In 1875, she published the movement’s textbook - Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures -%0D and later founded the Church of Christ, Science in 1879.
Moses is an important prophet in Judaism, Christianity, the Bahá'í Faith, and many other Abrahamic religions. Adopted by the Egyptian Princess Bithia, he later acquired ownership of the Torah from God, and became the leader and lawgiver of the Israelites, who led them out of Egypt and to the promised land, Mount Nebo.
Born Habib Hazim, but formally referred to as Patriarch Ignatius IV, he was the Patriach of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East from 1979 until his death in 2012. In addition to his native Arabic language, he was also fluent in English and French.
Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist who promotes non-violent solutions to conflicts. He also published over 100 books, more than 40 of which are printed in English.
Saint George of Lydia was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer of Roman Emperor Diocletian, who, after refusing to recant his Christian faith, died a martyr after being sentenced to death by the Romans.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus was a Dutch Catholic priest, theologian, classical scholar, and Renaissance humanist, who has been referred to as “the crowning glory of Christian humanists.” During his lifetime, he wrote many books, including important new Greek and Latin editions of the New Testament.
Born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta in Javier, Kingdom of Navarre, Saint Francis Xavier was a Navarrese Basque Roman Catholic Missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. In 1543, along with six other Jesuits, he took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris.