The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Portuguese Religious Figures. The pantheon dataset contains 3,187 Religious Figures, 19 of which were born in Portugal. This makes Portugal the birth place of the 25th most number of Religious Figures behind Belgium, and Ukraine.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Portuguese Religious Figures of all time. This list of famous Portuguese Religious Figures is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Portuguese Religious Figures.

Photo of Anthony of Padua

1. Anthony of Padua (1195 - 1231)

With an HPI of 78.72, Anthony of Padua is the most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages on wikipedia.

Anthony of Padua, OFM (Portuguese: António/Antônio de Pádua; Italian: Antonio di/da Padova; Latin: Antonius Patavinus) or Anthony of Lisbon (Portuguese: António/Antônio de Lisboa; Italian: Antonio da/di Lisbona; Latin: Antonius Olisiponensis; born Fernando Martins de Bulhœs; 15 August 1195 – 13 June 1231) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy. Noted by his contemporaries for his powerful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick, he was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history, being canonized less than a year after his death. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII on 16 January 1946.

Photo of Pope John XXI

2. Pope John XXI (1215 - 1277)

With an HPI of 71.23, Pope John XXI is the 2nd most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.

Pope John XXI (Latin: Ioannes XXI, Portuguese: João XXI; c. 1215 – 20 May 1277), born Pedro Julião (Latin: Petrus Iulianus), was the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church from 8 September 1276 to his death. He is the only Portuguese pope in history. He is sometimes identified with the logician and herbalist Peter of Spain (Latin: Petrus Hispanus; Portuguese: Pedro Hispano), which would make him the only pope to have been a physician.

Photo of Sister Lúcia

3. Sister Lúcia (1907 - 2005)

With an HPI of 65.39, Sister Lúcia is the 3rd most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, OCD, (28 March 1907 – 13 February 2005) also known as Lúcia of Fátima and by her religious name Maria Lúcia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, was a Portuguese Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun. Sister Lúcia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto claimed to have witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in 1917.

Photo of John of God

4. John of God (1495 - 1550)

With an HPI of 63.86, John of God is the 4th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

John of God, OH (Portuguese: João de Deus; Spanish: Juan de Dios; born João Duarte Cidade; March 8, 1495 – March 8, 1550) was a Portuguese soldier turned health-care worker in Spain, whose followers later formed the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, a Catholic religious institute dedicated to the care of the poor, sick and those with mental disorders. Cidade was canonized by Pope Alexander VIII and is considered one of the leading religious figures in the history of the Iberian Peninsula.

Photo of Cristóvão Ferreira

5. Cristóvão Ferreira (1580 - 1650)

With an HPI of 57.37, Cristóvão Ferreira is the 5th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Cristóvão Ferreira (c. 1580–1650) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and Jesuit missionary who committed apostasy after being captured and tortured during the anti-Christian purges in 17th-century Japan. During the Tokugawa shogunate, Christian missionaries and their Japanese followers were persecuted, arrested and executed. Authorities were concerned that the religion was making followers loyal to Christian nations rather than the Emperor or the shogunate. After Ferreira had renounced his faith, he remained in Japan for the rest of his life. He became known as one of the "fallen priests" who assisted Japanese authorities with their knowledge of Western philosophies and sciences.

Photo of Beatrice of Silva

6. Beatrice of Silva (1424 - 1492)

With an HPI of 57.27, Beatrice of Silva is the 6th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Beatrice of Silva (Campo Maior, Portugal ca. 1424 – Toledo, Castile, 16 August 1492), born Beatriz de Menezes da Silva, was a Portuguese noblewoman who became the foundress of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception. Amadeus of Portugal's younger sister, she is honored as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Photo of Alexandrina of Balazar

7. Alexandrina of Balazar (1904 - 1955)

With an HPI of 55.47, Alexandrina of Balazar is the 7th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Alexandrina Maria da Costa (30 March 1904 – 13 October 1955), best known as Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar, was a Portuguese mystic and victim soul, member of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, who was born and died in Balazar (a rural parish of Póvoa de Varzim). On 25 April 2004, she was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II who stated that "her secret to holiness was love for Christ".

Photo of José Saraiva Martins

8. José Saraiva Martins (b. 1932)

With an HPI of 55.09, José Saraiva Martins is the 8th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F. GCC (born 6 January 1932) is a Portuguese cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints from 1998 to 2008.

Photo of Pelagio Galvani

9. Pelagio Galvani (1165 - 1230)

With an HPI of 55.04, Pelagio Galvani is the 9th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Pelagio Galvani (c. 1165 – 30 January 1230, Portuguese: Paio Galvão Latin: Pelagius) was a Leonese cardinal, and canon lawyer. He became a papal legate and leader of the Fifth Crusade. Born at Guimarães, his early life is little known. It is repeatedly claimed that he entered the Order of Saint Benedict but this is not proven. Pope Innocent III created him cardinal-deacon of Santa Lucia in Septisolio around 1206. Later, he was promoted to the rank of cardinal-priest of S. Cecilia (probably on 2 April 1211), and finally opted for the suburbicarian see of Albano in the spring of 1213. He subscribed the papal bulls between 4 May 1207 and 26 January 1230. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople in 1213. During this two-year mission he attempted to close Orthodox churches and imprison the clergy, but this caused such domestic upset that Henry of Flanders, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, reversed his actions which had caused the "tempest which held the city of Constantine in its grip", as noted a contemporary historian. Three years later he was elected Latin Patriarch of Antioch but his election was not ratified by the Holy See. He was dispatched in 1218 by Pope Honorius III to lead the Fifth Crusade at Damietta in Egypt, and made a poor strategic decision in turning down favourable peace offers made by the sultan al-Kamil. During his absence, the see of Albano was administer by Thomas of Capua. He became dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals at the election to the papacy of Cardinal Ugolino Conti, who became Pope Gregory IX, on 19 March 1227. He was one of the leaders of the papal army in 1229–1230 during the War of the Keys against the Emperor Frederick II. He died at Monte Cassino and was buried there.

Photo of John de Britto

10. John de Britto (1647 - 1693)

With an HPI of 54.56, John de Britto is the 10th most famous Portuguese Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

John de Britto, SJ (also spelled Brito; Portuguese: João de Brito), also known as Arul Anandar, (1 March 1647 – 4 February 1693) was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary and martyr, often called "the Portuguese St Francis Xavier" by Indian Catholics . He is also called the John the Baptist of India.


Pantheon has 21 people classified as Portuguese religious figures born between 540 and 1965. Of these 21, 5 (23.81%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Portuguese religious figures include José Saraiva Martins, Manuel Clemente, and Manuel Monteiro de Castro. The most famous deceased Portuguese religious figures include Anthony of Padua, Pope John XXI, and Sister Lúcia. As of April 2024, 3 new Portuguese religious figures have been added to Pantheon including Cristóvão Ferreira, Alexandrina of Balazar, and James of Portugal.

Living Portuguese Religious Figures

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Deceased Portuguese Religious Figures

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Newly Added Portuguese Religious Figures (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Religious Figures were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Religious Figures since 1700.