Top 8 influential priests in the world

Given the influence of the Catholic church throughout history, it is not surprising that related members such as monks and popes have significant influence on the world. Not only through theology but also through science and philosophy. Next, we will introduce to you characters who have made important discoveries or changed the way of thinking, living, and rising high in various fields.

1. Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola is proud to be at the top of the list, because he was the founder of the Jesuits. Since its founding, this order of educational priests has been credited with “making the most important contribution to experimental physics of the seventeenth century.” They also contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, tachometers, barometers, reflecting telescopes, and microscopes; to diverse scientific fields such as magnetism, optics and electricity. They theorized about the circulation of blood, the theoretical possibility of flight, how the moon affected the tides, and the wavelike nature of light. Additionally, their contribution to the study of earthquakes has been called “Jesuit science” by seismologists. However, St. Ignatius initially founded the order to teach and spread Catholic doctrine, a mission they continue to maintain to this day.

He was born in 1491, one of 13 children of a minor noble family in northern Spain. As a young man, Ignatius was passionate about love and chivalry. From a Basque soldier, he became a Catholic priest and theologian, after a mystical experience convinced him that he was called to serve Christ.
In 1521, Ignatius was seriously injured in battle with the French. While recovering, he underwent a conversion. Reading biographies of Jesus and the Saints made him happy and aroused his desire to do great things. Ignatius realized that this feeling was God's illumination and guidance for him. Over the years, he became an expert in the art of spiritual direction. With a group of friends, Ignatius founded the Jesuit Order to protect the church and spread its message. Approved by Pope Paul III in 1540, he became the first superior general (official leader) of the Jesuits.

Ignatius died in 1556 and was canonized in 1622, becoming Saint Ignatius of Loyola. At that time, his name had become as famous as the knight heroes he had admired in his youth. Schools, colleges, universities and seminaries around the world continue to honor him; emphasizes the importance of education in promoting and protecting the Catholic vision of Christianity.
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2. Father Georges Lemaitre

The father of the Big Bang Theory - priest Georges Lemaitre, was the first to propose the concept of an expanding universe. His research in the fields of astronomy and physics led him to be the first to derive what we now call “Hubble's law” and “Hubble's constant”. Lemaitre called his Big Bang Theory “the hypothesis of the primordial atom”.

There is no need to go into detail about this priest's influence, since almost everyone in the scientific field believes in his theories. Lemaitre was also one of the first scientists to apply the use of computers to the study of cosmology, and he helped create the fast range transformation algorithm.
Father Georges Lemaitre was born on July 17, 1894 in Charleroi. He was a Belgian Catholic priest, astronomer and physicist. As a young man, Lemaitre was attracted to both science and theology, but World War I interrupted his studies. He served as an artillery officer and witnessed the first poison gas attack in history. After the war, Lemaitre studied theoretical physics and was ordained an abbot in 1923. He also pursued his scientific research with the famous English astronomer, Arthur Eddington. Father Lemaitre continued by traveling to the United States - where he visited most of the major astronomical research centers. Then received a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1925, at the age of 31, Lemaitre accepted a professorship at the Catholic University of Louvain. This was a position he held throughout World War II. He is a dedicated teacher and enjoys working with students. His “primordial atom" hypothesis, intended to explain the origin of the universe, formed the basis for the “big bang” theory. This astonishing idea first appeared in scientific form in 1931. , in an article by the same priest. That theory is accepted by most astronomers today, a radical departure from the scientific orthodoxy of the 1930s. Astronomers at the time considered it implausible that the entire observable galactic universe began with a bang. They were still uncomfortable with the idea that the universe was expanding.

Besides science, Lemaitre's religious interests remained important to his life. Therefore, he served as president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences from 1960 until his death in 1966.

On October 26, 2018, an electronic vote among all members of the International Astronomical Union took place. With a vote of 78%, it was proposed to change the name of the Hubble law associated with his name, to become the Hubble–Lemaitre law.
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3. Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas was a simple monk who left his wealthy and noble family to join the Dominican order in the 13th century. This quiet man rose so high in philosophy and theology that his name will never be forgotten. Aquinas's influence was so great that he completely changed the way of philosophical thinking, paving the way for modern philosophers during the enlightenment period. His philosophy also influenced the natural sciences, including medicine. In addition, this influence was felt in the Roman Catholic church, for his work entitled Summa Theologia remains the basis for most seminary studies - it helps define shaped the thinking of other future priests who have and will influence the world of science.

Saint Thomas Aquinas was born around the middle of 1224 in Roccasecca, Italy. His family belonged to a long line of earls, owning a castle for more than a century. In his early years, Aquinas lived and studied at the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia himself in the 6th century. Next, he attended the University of Naples and began studying theology there in the fall of 1239. It was during that process that Aquinas was encouraged to join a new religious order. This place is called the Dominican Order - after its founder, Saint Dominic of Guzman (1170 -1221).

Recognizing his talent very early, the order sent Aquinas to study at the University of Paris for three years. At the age of 32, he was teaching at this school as a master of theology. The Dominican order then transferred Aquinas back to Italy - where he taught in Naples, Orvietto and Rome (from 1259 to 1268). It was during this time that he began writing his Summa Theologiae. While composing the treatise on the sacraments for this book in December 1273, Aquinas was called upon to serve as theological advisor at the second council of Lyon. However, he died at Fossanova-Italy, on March 7, 1274, while on his way to the council.
Canonized in 1323, Saint Thomas Aquinas was later honored as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V in 1567. Through his extensive, profound and well-argued writings. To this day, this Saint continues to attract many intellectual disciples, not only among Catholics, but also Protestants, as well as non-Catholics.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
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4. Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473. He was a Renaissance polymath who worked as a mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic priest. There is some doubt as to whether Nicolaus eventually became a priest, as there is only evidence that he accepted minor (priestly) offices. But his reputation and the possibility that he was eventually ordained - makes Nicolaus one of the people who stands on this list.

In the 1500s, Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to propose the idea that the earth was not the center of the universe but rather that it along with other celestial bodies orbited the sun. Although Nicolaus's model was not entirely accurate, it provided a solid foundation for future scientists; such as Galileo - who built and improved humanity's understanding of the movements of celestial bodies. He sparked the Copernican revolution “referring to the Ptolemaic shift of the heavens, which viewed the earth at the center of the galaxy, toward a heliocentric model with the sun at the center of our solar system.” . It was one of the starting points of the scientific revolution of the 16th century.

Because Nicolaus's father passed away when he was a child. Therefore, his uncle became the person who replaced his father in his life. This uncle wanted Nicolaus to become a priest in the Catholic church. However, when visiting some academies, he spent more time studying mathematics and astronomy. While studying at the University of Bologna, Nicolaus lived and worked with astronomy professor Domenico Maria de Novara - who studied with him and helped him observe the sky. However, influenced by his uncle, Nicolaus became a missionary in Warmia, northern Poland. However, he could not yet become a priest.

Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died on May 24, 1543 of a stroke at the age of 70. In 2010, his remains were blessed by several high-ranking Catholic clergy in Poland. with Holy water before reburial. The tomb is marked by a black granite stele, decorated with a solar system model. This is considered a symbol of the scientific contribution and service of Nicolaus Copernicus as a church priest.
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5. Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII, born January 7, 1502. His birth name was Ugo Boncompagni. This pope was the head of the Catholic church and ruler of the papal territories from May 13, 1572 until his death in 1585. Pope Gregory XIII was famous for his advocacy and named for the Gregorian calendar - the civil calendar that has become the standard calendar of Europe and much of the world, and is accepted internationally to this day.

Pope Gregory XIII made many contributions to the life of the Catholic church, including: the city of Rome, education, art and diplomacy. Before becoming leader, he had a distinguished career in law in Bologna - where he received a doctorate in both civil and canon law. He also teaches jurisprudence, which is the theory and philosophy of law.

Pope Gregory XIII's intellectual influence made him a trusted figure in legal and diplomatic circles, even before he was elected pope in the conclave of 1572. When elected, he took named Gregory, in honor of Pope Gregory I who lived in the 6th century ago.

His initiatives - including the restoration of essential infrastructure such as gates, bridges and fountains - were part of a broader vision that emphasized the centrality of law in history as well as culture. culture of Rome. This is evidenced by the fact that Gregory XIII was honored by a statue in the Aula Consiliare, of the senatorial palace. In addition to his urban planning initiatives, the commissioning of works of art and architectural projects demonstrates his commitment to promoting a city that is more than just a spiritual center of Catholicism, but also a beacon of renaissance culture. In the Sala Regia hall in Vatican City, Pope Gregory XIII executed a series of frescoes showing the victory of Christianity over its enemies. He also commissioned an entire gallery of maps of the Apostolic Palace, to demonstrate the extent of Christianity's spread throughout the world.

Additionally, the reform of the Gregorian calendar marked a sea change in the calculation of time. October 4, 1582 was connected to October 15 - adjusting the calendar's conformity with astronomical reality. This adjustment, gradually adopted by Protestant nations, had a lasting impact on the world's way of measuring time.
In St. Peter's Basilica, in Vatican City, one will find a remarkable monument to Pope Gregory XIII. It was completed in 1723 by the Milanese sculptor Camillo Rusconi, combining symbols of both religion and wisdom, personified by two statues standing next to the pope. This is a fitting tribute to a pope whose tenure was characterized by the interaction of faith, wisdom, reform; and can now be considered fundamental in European history.
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6. Saint Albertus Magnus

Saint Albertus Magnus was born around 1200, in the Bavarian town of Lauingen. He was a monk, philosopher, scientist, bishop; and is also known as one of the 33 "doctors" of the Catholic church. Albertus wrote in-depth works on various topics such as: logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, chemistry, metaphysics, meteorology , zoology, physiology, phrenology and more. He created maps and diagrams, experimented with plants, studied chemical reactions, designed navigational instruments, and made detailed studies of birds and animals. Therefore, Saint Albertus Magnus is considered one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of the Middle Ages.

In 1223, he joined the Dominican missionary order and was sent to the monastery in Cologne - which was his home during a long career of scholarship, writing, travel, and teaching. While still a student at the University of Paris, then a professor, Albertus discovered a "new way of learning" based on Greek and Arabic philosophy and science, arousing unprecedented controversy in the Middle Ages. German learning center. He undertook a number of writing projects that showed the relationship of these ancient works to Christian teaching.

Albertus served four years as provincial of the German-speaking Dominicans, including visits to more than 56 monasteries; including a mission as far away as Riga (now the capital of Latvia). He was always on foot, and often stopped to study natural phenomena, spending many hours in the libraries of the places he visited, copying any books that were new to him. As Albertus' fame grew, he was called upon to mediate theological disputes, create new curricula, conduct conferences, and champion scientific learning. His skills as an arbitrator and mediator helped the pope undertake a number of ecclesiastical and diplomatic duties. Albertus was appointed bishop of Regensburg in 1260 to a diocese in spiritual and financial crisis. After three years of reform and encouragement, he resigned to return to teaching.

Besides commenting on the scientific and philosophical works of classical thinkers, Albertus also wrote many commentaries on the Bible and other theological works. His understanding of diverse philosophical texts enabled him to construct his Summa Theologiae. It is this premise that faith and reason are compatible sources of knowledge that inspired the major work of Albertus's most famous student and Dominican brother - Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Albertus Magnus died on November 15, 1280, and was buried in Cologne. In 1931, he was canonized as a Saint and Doctor of the Church. Next, in 1941, he became the Patron Saint of the natural sciences. Albertus's greatness lay not only in his fidelity to the Christian vision, but also in his excellence in scholarly work as well as in his intellectual breadth.
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7. Pope Urban II

Pope Urban II was born around 1035. He was the head of the Catholic church and ruler of the papal territories from 1088 until his death. Urban II was also the one who launched the crusade to gain control of the Holy Land from the Turks. This was the first of seven crusades that influenced medieval history. Today, its influence can still be felt in the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. In addition, Pope Urban II also reformed the leadership of the Catholic church by establishing it according to the imperial model. This structure persists today and continues to influence the daily lives of many Catholics, as well as the church's position in international politics. His impact on the world was considered important enough; Therefore, he was declared "Blessed" (also known as Demi-Saint) by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.
Urban II was a brilliant tactician, he wanted to place the papacy at the center of a unified Christian world, beset by division. The Eastern and Western halves of the church are divided, the knights are turning their swords against each other, instead of against a common enemy. By directing hostility elsewhere, with the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim control. Pope Urban II used temporal power, controlling European armies to continue his plans for unity. At the same time, he launched an internal reform campaign aimed at making the church more spiritual and improving standards of clerical behavior. Urban II succeeded in enhancing papal power and uniting Europe after his crusade. Over a longer period, however, conflicts that glorified crusading ideals compromised Christianity's claim to be a religion of peace. Therefore, it causes permanent discord in the relationship between Catholicism and Islam; does not lay a long-term foundation to be able to build a more unified Europe. When the Crusades ended in failure, war on the homeland became a concern for the knights.

Pope Urban II's motives are still debated, as evidenced by various recorded speeches. Some historians believe that he desired unity between the eastern and western churches, caused by a rift caused by the Great Schism of 1054. Others suggest that Pope Urban II saw this as an opportunity to gain legitimacy as pope; because at that time he was competing with pope Clement III. A third theory is that Urban II felt threatened by Muslim invasions of Europe. So he saw the Crusades as a way to unite the Christian world into a unified defense force against them.

Before news of the fall of Jerusalem to the Crusaders reached Italy (July 29, 1099), Pope Urban II had died. Therefore, he could not know the information before leaving. His successor, Pope Paschal II, established the modern-day Roman Curia as a royal court to help govern the church.
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8. Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel was a teacher, monk and scientist. He was born in 1822 in the small village of Heinzendorf bei Odrau, now Hyncice in the Czech Republic. This priest's work in the field of genetics has had a huge impact on the world. But it is probably correct to say that it is not yet fully implemented. However, his contribution to science was very important. Because Mendel was the first to lay the mathematical foundation for the science of genetics, in what became known as “Mendelianism.”

Born and raised in a family with difficult circumstances in rural Silesia. His academic ability was recognized by a local priest who persuaded his parents to send him to school at the age of 11. Mendel's studies at the Gymnasium (grammar school) were completed in 1840. Thereafter, He attended a two-year program at the Institute of Philosophy at Olmutz University, in the Czech Republic - where he excelled in physics and mathematics. After finishing college, Mendel entered the monastery of St. Thomas Augustine. This place is also a cultural and intellectual center; Therefore, he was exposed to many new teachings and ideas that he loved.
In 1850, Mendel was sent to the University of Vienna for two years to study a new science curriculum. He began to devote this time to physics and mathematics, working under the guidance of Austrian physicist Christian Doppler and mathematical physicist Andreas von Ettinghausen. Mendel also studied the anatomy and physiology of plants, as well as the use of microscopes under the guidance of botanist Franz Unger - an enthusiast of cell theory.
In the summer of 1853 he returned to the monastery. And the following year, he was given a teaching position again. Mendel stayed here until he was elected parish priest 14 years later. His scientific work at that time had largely ended, because the responsibility of work at the monastery was too great.

Scientist Gregor Mendel died on January 6, 1884, at the age of 61, from chronic nephritis. After his death, his successor priest burned all the papers in Mendel's collection to mark the end of tax disputes with the government. The exhumation of his body in 2021 revealed some details about his appearance such as his body height. Mendel's genome was analyzed and revealed that he was susceptible to heart problems.

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