List of 20th-century religious leaders

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List of 19th-century religious leadersList of 21st-century religious leadersLists of religious leaders by century
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This is a list of the top-level leaders for religious groups with at least 50,000 adherents, and that led anytime from January 1, 1901, to December 31, 2000. It should likewise only name leaders listed on other articles and lists.

Religious denomination identifiable religious subgroup with a common structure and doctrine

A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.



Daisaku Ikeda president of Soka Gakkai International

Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, educator, author, and nuclear disarmament advocate. He has served as the third president and then honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, the largest of Japan's new religious movements. Ikeda is the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the world's largest Buddhist lay organization with approximately 12 million practitioners in 192 countries and territories.

Einosuke Akiya is a Japanese Buddhist leader. He was the fifth president of Soka Gakkai from 18 July 1981 to 9 November 2006. After his resignation from that position, he became the chairman of the Supreme Leader Meeting of Soka Gakkai in November 2006. He was also the manager of the Men's Division, the Youth Division of Soka Gakkai, the chairman of the Central Meeting and Kofu Shimbun Meeting of Soka Gakkai, the supreme advisor of Sōka University, the honorary director of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, the supreme advisor of the Min-On Concert Association, the director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and the acting president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI).

Buddhism in Thailand Theravada integrated with folk religion and Chinese traditional religion

Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school, which is followed by 94.6 percent of the population. Buddhism in Thailand has also become integrated with folk religion as well as Chinese religions from the large Thai Chinese population. Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, and the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritage.

Tibetan Buddhism

Dalai Lama Buddhist spiritual teacher

Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people for the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the classical schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

13th Dalai Lama 19th and 20th-century Dalai Lama of Tibet

Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

14th Dalai Lama Current Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.



Roman Catholicism

Old Catholicism

Eastern Orthodoxy

Autocephalous Churches

Autonomous Churches

Ukrainian Orthodoxy

  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, schismatic –
    Mstyslav, Patriarch of Kiev (1992–1993)
    Volodymyr, Patriarch of Kiev (1993–1995)
    Filaret, Patriarch of Kiev (1995–present)
  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), not canonically recognised –
    • Feognost II, Metropolitan of Kiev (1900–1903)
    • Flavian, Metropolitan of Kiev (1903–1915)
    • Vladimir I, Metropolitan of Kiev (1915–1918)
    • Antoniy II, Metropolitan of Kiev (1918–1936)
    • Nazary of Cherkass, Metropolitan of Kiev (1919–1921)
    • Michael of Grodno and Brest, Metropolitan of Kiev (1921–1924)
    • Michael III, Metropolitan of Kiev (1924–1929)
    • Dmitriy, Metropolitan of Kiev (1930–1932)
    • Sergiy, Metropolitan of Kiev (1932–1934)
    • Konstantin III, Metropolitan of Kiev (1934–1937)
    • Nikolai II, Metropolitan of Kiev (1941–1944)
    • Ioann V, Metropolitan of Kiev (1944–1964)
    • Ioasaf II, Metropolitan of Kiev (1964–1966)
    • Filaret II, Metropolitan of Kiev (1966–1992)
    • Volodymyr Sabodan, Metropolitan of Kiev (1992–present)
  • Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, not canonically recognised –
    • Oleksii Hromadskyi, (1941–1943)
    • Pantelejmon Rudyk, (1943–1944)
    • Mstyslav, Patriarch (?–1993)
  • Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Canonical [sic], not canonically recognised –

Schismatic churches

Oriental Orthodoxy



  • Baptist World Alliance
    • John Clifford, President (1905–1911)
    • Robert Stuart MacArthur, President (1911–1923)
    • Edgar Young Mullins, President (1923–1928)
    • John MacNeill, President (1928–1934)
    • George Washington Truett, President (1934–1939)
    • James Henry Rushbrooke, President (1939–1947)
    • Charles Oscar Johnson, President (1947–1950)
    • Fred Townley Lord, President (1950–1955)
    • Theodore Floyd Adams, President (1955–1960)
    • Joao Filson Soren, President (1960–1965)
    • William R. Tolbert, Jr., President (1965–1970)
    • Carney Hargroves, President (1970–1975)
    • David Wong, President (1975–1980)
    • Duke Kimbrough McCall, President (1980–1985)
    • Noel Vose, President (1985–1990)
    • Knud Wumpleman, President (1990–1995)
    • Nilson Do Amaral Fanini, President (1995–2000)
North America
  • J. Brent Walker - Executive Director (1999–present)
  • Daniel Vestal, Coordinator (1996–present)





  • African Methodist Episcopal Church
    • Clement W. Fugh, General Secretary (2000–present)
  • Free Methodist Church in Canada
  • Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas
    • Nicolas V. Zamora, General Superintendent (1909–1914)
    • Alejandro H. Reyes, General Superintendent (1914–1922)
    • Victoriano Mariano, General Superintendent (1922–1928)
    • Francisco Gregorio, General Superintendent (1928–1939)
    • Matias B. Valdez, General Superintendent (1939–1948)
    • Eusebio Tech, General Superintendent (1948–1952)
    • Marcelino C. Gutierrez, General Superintendent (1952–1953)
    • Lazaro G. Trinidad, General Superintendent (1953–1972)
    • Geronimo P. Maducdoc, General Superintendent (1972–1980)
    • George F. Castro, General Superintendent (1980–2000)
    • Nathaniel P. Lazaro, General Superintendent (2000–present)
  • Methodist Church Ghana
    • Francis C.F. Grant, President (1961–1966)
    • T. Wallace Koomson, President (1966–1973)
    • Charles K. Yamoah, President (1973–1977)
    • C. Awotwi Pratt, President (1977–1979)
    • Samuel B. Essamuah, President (1979–1984)
    • C. Awotwi Pratt, President (1984–1985)
    • Jacob S.A. Stephens, President (1985–1990)
    • Kwesi A. Dickson, President (1990–1997)
    • Samuel Asante Antwi, President and Presiding Bishop (1997–2003) [5]
  • Methodist Church in Singapore
    • Methodist work in Southern and Southeast Asia
    • James M. Thoburn, Bishop and Superintendent (1888–1904)
    • William F. Oldham, Bishop and Superintendent (1904–1912)
    • John E. Robinson, Bishop and Superintendent (1912–1914)
    • William P. Eveland, Bishop and Superintendent (1914–1916)
    • John E. Robinson and J. W. Robinson, Bishops and Superintendents (1916–1920)
    • George H. Bickley, Bishop and Superintendent (1920–1924)
    • Titus Lowe, Bishop and Superintendent (1924–1928)
    • Edwin F. Lee, Bishop and Superintendent (1928–1948)
    • Southeastern Asia Central Conference
    • Raymond L. Archer, Bishop (1950–1956)
    • Hobart B. Amstutz, Bishop (1956–1964)
    • Robert F. Lundy, Bishop (1964–1968)
    • Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore
    • Yap Kim Hao, Bishop (1968–1973)
    • Theodore R. Doraisamy, Bishop (1973–1976)
    • Methodist Church in Singapore
    • Kao Jih Chung, Bishop (1976–1984)
    • Ho Chee Sin, Bishop (1984–1996)
    • Wong Kiam Thau, Bishop (1996–2000)
    • Robert M. Solomon, Bishop (2000–present)
  • Methodist Church of South Africa
    • President
      • William B Rayner, President (1900–1901)
      • Alfred T Rhodes, President (1901–1902)
      • Robert Lamplough, President (1902–1903)
      • Nendrick Abrahams, President (1903–1904)
      • Ezra Nuttal, President (1904–1905)
      • Arthur P Chaplin, President (1905–1906)
      • Richard F Hornabrook, President (1906–1907)
      • William J Hacker, President (1907–1908)
      • George Weaver, President (1908–1909)
      • Wesley Hurt, President (1909–1911)
      • Joseph Metcalf, President (1911–1912)
      • Albert H Hodges, President (1912–1913)
      • William Pescod, President (1913–1914)
      • T Edward Marsh, President (1914–1915)
      • Robert Matterson, President (1915–1916)
      • Griffith W Rogers, President (1916–1917)
      • Henry Cotton, President (1917–1918)
      • Samuel Clark, President (1918–1919)
      • James PendlReebury, President (1919–1920)
      • George Robson, President (1920–1921)
      • Arthur J Lennard, President (1921–1922)
      • Charles S Lucas, President (1922–1923)
      • John W Househam, President (1923–1924)
      • John W Watkinson, President (1924–1925)
      • Frederick Holmes, President (1925–1926)
      • Andrew Graham, President (1926–1927)
      • Theo R Curnick BD, President (1927–1928)
      • William Flint DD, President (1928–1929)
      • Geo H P Jacques, President (1929–1930)
      • Allen Lea, President (1930–1931)
      • Ernest Titcomb, President (1931–1932)
      • John A Allcock, President (1932–1933)
      • William Meara, President (1933–1934)
      • Henry W Goodwin, President (1934–1935)
      • Thomas Stanton, President (1935–1936)
      • A Arthur Wellington, President (1936–1937)
      • William Meara, President (1937–1938)
      • Edwin Bottrill, President (1938–1939)
      • Lorenzo S H Wilkinson, President (1939–1940)
      • William Eveleigh, President (1940–1941)
      • William B Allcock, President (1941–1942)
      • Arnold Nichols, President (1942–1943)
      • William W Shilling, President (1943–1944)
      • William Whalley, President (1944–1945)
      • William Meara, President (1945–1946)
      • Cecil C Harris, President (1946–1947)
      • E Lyn Cragg, President (1947–1948)
      • Edward W Grant, President (1948–1949)
      • Joseph B Webb, President (1949–1950)
      • Stanley Le Grove-Smith, President (1950–1951)
      • Alison E F Garrett, President (1951–1952)
      • J Wesley Hunt, President (1952–1953)
      • Herbert W Rist, President (1953–1954)
      • Joseph B Webb, President (1954–1955)
      • Stanley B Sudbury, President (1955–1956)
      • William Illsley, President (1956–1957)
      • Clifford K Storey, President (1957–1958)
      • C Edgar Wilkinson, President (1958–1959)
      • Leslie A Hewson, President (1959–1960)
      • Frank H Edmonds, President (1960–1961)
      • Joseph B Webb, President (1961–1962)
      • Deryck P Dugmore, President (1962–1963)
      • Stanley G Pitts, President (1963–1964)
      • Seth M Mokitimi, President (1964–1965)
      • Wilfred W Hartley, President (1965–1966)
      • Robert C Bellis, President (1966–1967)
      • L G S Griffiths, President (1967–1968)
      • Cyril Wilkins, President (1968–1969)
      • Derrick W Timm, President (1969–1970)
      • C Edgar Wilkinson, President (1970–1971)
      • Alex L Boraine, President (1971–1972)
      • Stanley G Pitts, President (1972–1973)
      • Jotham C Mvusi, President (1973–1974)
      • Vivian W Harris, President (1974–1975)
      • Abel E Hendricks, President (1975–1976)
      • Charles R Stephenson, President (1976–1977)
      • Abel E Hendricks, President (1977–1978)
      • Donald C Veysie, President (1978–1979)
      • Andrew M Losaba, President (1979–1980)
      • Howard F Kirby, President (1980–1981)
      • T Simon N Gqubule, President (1981–1982)
      • Khoza E M Mgojo, President (1982–1983)
      • Fremont C Louw, President (1983–1984)
      • Peter J Storey, President (1984–1985)
      • Ernest N Baartman, President (1985–1986)
      • John P Scholtz, President (1986–1987)
      • Khoza E M Mgojo, President (1987–1988)
      • M Stanley Mogoba, President (1988–1998)
      • H Mvume Dandala, President (1998–2003)
    • General Secretary
      • Alfred T Rhodes, General Secretary (1899–1901)
      • Ezra Nuttal, General Secretary (1901–1904)
      • Arthur P Chaplin, General Secretary (1904–1905)
      • Charles Pettman, General Secretary (1905–1911)
      • Henry Cotton, General Secretary (1911–1917)
      • James Robb, General Secretary (1917–1920)
      • John W Househam, General Secretary (1920–1923)
      • William H P Clulow, General Secretary (1923–1926)
      • Alfred A Stile, General Secretary (1926–1927)
      • William H P Clulow, General Secretary (1927–1928)
      • Thomas Stanton, General Secretary (1928–1934)
      • Arthur C File, General Secretary (1934–1938)
      • William H Irving, General Secretary (1938–1939)
      • Arthur C File, General Secretary (1939–1940)
      • William H Irving, General Secretary (1940–1942)
      • Edward W Grant, General Secretary (1942–1943)
      • F J Rhead Marsh, General Secretary (1943–1945)
      • Alison E F Garrett, General Secretary (1945–1951)
      • Stanley B Sudbury, General Secretary (1951–1953)
      • Frank H Edmonds, General Secretary (1953–1960)
      • Lloyd G Griffiths, General Secretary (1960–1961)
      • Alison E F Grant, General Secretary (1961–1962)
      • Stanley B Sudbury, General Secretary (1962–1973)
      • Cyril Wilkins, General Secretary (1973–1982)
      • M Stanley Mogoba, General Secretary (1982–1988)
      • Vivian Harris, General Secretary (1988–2001)

Other Protestant


Provinces of the Anglican Communion

  • George Werner, President (2000–present)

Continuing Anglicanism

  • G. Frederick B. Morris, Presiding Bishop (1955–1965)
  • Stephen Carlton Bradley, Presiding Bishop (1965–1984)
  • Dudley Foord, Presiding Bishop (1986–1989)
  • Joe J. Bell, Presiding Bishop (1989–2000)
  • Frank J. Retief, Presiding Bishop (2000–2010)
  • A. Donald Davies, Presiding Bishop (1992–2000)
  • William Millsaps, Presiding Bishop (2000–2005)
  • John C. Gramley, Presiding Bishop (1992–1996)
  • Stephen C. Reber, Presiding Bishop (1996–2010)

Other Christian or Christian-derived faiths









Nation of Islam

North America


West Asian origin


Universal House of Justice members



  • Sri Akal Takht Sahib
    • Arur Singh Naushshera, Jathedar (1907–1920)
    • Teja Singh Ji Bhuchar, Jathedar (1920–1921)
    • Teja Singh Ji Akerpuri, Jathedar (1921–1923, 1926–1930)
    • Udham Singh Ji Nagoki, Jathedar (1923–1924)
    • Bhai Acchar Singh Ji, Jathedar (1924–1925)
    • Didar Singh Ji, Jathedar (about a month in 1926)
    • Jawaher Singh Ji, Jathedar (very short period in 1926)
    • Giani Gurmukh Singh Ji Musaffer, Jathedar (1930–1931)
    • Mohan singh Ji Nagoki, Jathedar (1931–1938)
    • Giani Partap Singh Ji, Jathedar (1938–1948)
    • Bhai Sadhu Singh Ji Bhaura, Jathedar (1948–1963)
    • Gurdial Singh Ji Ajnoha, Jathedar (1980–1983)
    • Bhai Kirpal Singh Ji, Jathedar (1963–1965, 1983–1986)
    • Darshan Singh Ji, Jathedar (1986)
    • Bhai Jasbir Singh Ji Rodae, Jathedar (1986)
    • Bhai Gurdev Singh Ji Kaunke, Jathedar (1986–1990s)
    • Manjit Singh Ji, Jathedar
    • Bhai Ranjit Singh Ji, Jathedar
    • Giani Puran singh Ji, Jathedar
    • Joginder Singh Ji Vadanti, Jathedar
    • Gurbachan Singh Ji, Jathedar

Note: Some religions reject the idea of having a leader or leading council in such a way that they can not be listed. When possible/plausible a leading figure will be named, but in some cases this will not be possible or desirable.

See also

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  1. "Bishop Alma White: Founder of Pillar of Fire Dies at 84". Associated Press. June 27, 1946. Bound Brook, New Jersey, June 26, 1946 (Associated Press) Bishop Alma White, founder of the Pillar of Fire Church and author of thirty-five religious tracts and some 200 hymns, died here today at the headquarters of the religious group at near-by Zarephath. Her age was 84.
  2. "Bishop Arthur White, 92, Dies. Headed Pillar of Fire Church". New York Times. September 18, 1981. Retrieved July 21, 2007. Bishop Arthur K. White, president and general superintendent of the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, New Jersey, died Monday at his home in Zarephath. He was 92 years old.
  3. "Donald Wolfram moved souls during street services". Denver Post . Retrieved July 21, 2007. Donald Wolfram, who was an early participant in religious street meetings in Lower Downtown Denver, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. Wolfram, 83, was a lifelong member of the Pillar of Fire Church, and as a young man, he joined other members for religious meetings in downtown Denver. The meetings resembled those of the Salvation Army, with a band and speaker. Wolfram usually played the trumpet or trombone, said his daughter, Suzanne Wolfram. Eventually, he learned to play about a ...
  4. "Preacher, racer are two of a kind. Dallenbach brothers follow different roads that intersect with love". Denver Post. April 30, 1990. Retrieved July 21, 2007. It's quite a spin from Wally's life as a race-car driver to the Rev. Robert Dallenbach's small Pillar of Fire Church, where drinking, dancing and smoking are forbidden. While Wally directs Denver's Grand Prix races this August, his older brother likely will be a few blocks away, preaching at Alma Temple. The Reverend Bob wears a charcoal-gray suit and Roman collar. His 8-year-old, church-owned Ford station wagon bears license tag ... But things aren't always what they seem with the brothers Dallenbach ...
  5. The Methodist Church Ghana (1835-2005): 170th Anniversary Souvenir Brochure. Accra, 2005