Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak giving blessingGuru Nanak is named founder of the Sikh religion. ‘Sikh’ means ‘disciple’ and Guru Nanak believed that one can evolve or achieve salvation only through direct contact with a true master or a ‘sadguru’. His religion has spread not only in North India but also in America, Singapore and Africa. Many Sikhs now live in other countries.

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Elijah Benamozegh

Italian Orthodox Rabbi Elijah BenamozeghElijah Benamozegh, sometimes Elia or Eliyahu, (born 1822; died 6 February 1900) was an Italian rabbi and a noted Kabbalist, highly respected in his day as one of Italy’s most eminent Jewish scholars. He served for half a century as rabbi of the important Jewish community of Livorno, where the Piazza Benamozegh now commemorates his name and distinction. His major work is Israel and Humanity (1863), which was translated into English by Dr. Mordechai Luria in 1995.

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Francis of Assisi

St FrancisFew saints in the history of the church have had such an immediate and such a lasting success as Francis of Assisi. His first two followers, Bernard of Quintavalle and Peter of Catani, joined him in 1208, yet by 1222, three, if not five, thousand men are said to have assembled together for a Convocation. And in our own time the stream of visitors to Assisi and the flood of books and articles devoted to Francis show that the appeal of il poverello has not diminished. Indeed, the current Pope took the name Francis – for he was told “don’t forget the poor” when he was elected

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Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

Rabbi Abraham Isaac KookAbraham Isaac Kook was an Orthodox rabbi, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine in the Land of Israel, the founder of Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav, a Jewish thinker, Posek, Kabbalist, and a renowned Talmid Chacham. He is considered one of the fathers of religious Zionism.

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Bede Griffiths

Bede GriffithsBede Griffiths was a contemplative Benedictine Monk who was led to India by spiritual means to explore the depths of the incarnation within the heart of the human person. He first went to Kurisumala Monastery, Kerala and then to Shantivanam – a Christian Monastery and Ashram in Tamil Nadu. Seeking the meeting point of the divine incarnation of Christ the Son of God in Indian spiritual tradition, Bede Griffiths and the Shantivanam Ashram became a beacon for Christians seeking inner renewal, world-wide.

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Abhishiktananda

Dom Henri Le SauxOne of the best reasons for hope in the crisis through which at present the world is passing is certainly the growing interest shown by Western people in the East. Western man has in fact much to learn from the spiritual and cultural world of the East, which has evolved in ways very different from his own. Perhaps too it is only there that he will discover that inwardness which he so patently lacks and will recover that identity which seems to have escaped him – but this time an identity which will reveal to him the very depth of his own being. Abhishiktananada, Preface, Guru and Disciple.

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Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, OMI

Tissa Balasuriya OMIFather Tissa Balasuriya is a member of a religious order, like the Benedictines, and the Fransciscans. Numerically, the largest religious order of priests in the country are the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and this is the congregation to which Father Tissa Balasuriya belongs. Founded in 1816 in France as a missionary and educational order, the Oblates came to Sri Lanka in 1847. Father Tissa was excommunicated from his church in 1997 and fought to have the excommunication lifted the following year.

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William and Catherine Booth: The Salvation Army

William and Catherine BoothWILLIAM BOOTH was the most successful evangelist of the nineteenth century. In an age when travelling preachers counted their conversions – and used their weekly totals to advertise for new work – Booth certainly topped the performance league. And, although he never descended to such commercial practices himself, he took great pride in his unparalleled talent for saving souls. But his importance was the world he took as his parish. The poor were his natural congregation and, at least in his early days, the only people who listened to his sermons were the men and women to whom the Church would not reach out.

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Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen was a preacher at a time when canon law forbade women to preach, a named composer when most music was anonymous, a visionary, a theologian, a writer, an artist, a hagiographer, a prolific letter-writer and an early scientist, botanist, herbalist, physician and healer – she even invented her own coded language. This German Benedictine anchorite who lived in the twelfth century was in the fullest sense a polymath. Yet she was an enclosed nun, until mid-life her only contact with the outside world being through a single window.

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Dame Julian of Norwich



Julian was an Anchoress. It is fairly certain that she was not a nun. An anchoress was a person called to a solitary life, but one that was not cut-off from the world, but one anchored in it. Her life was one of prayer and contemplation, a life highly thought of by people of the time. Her 14th Century blockbuster The Revelations Of Divine Love made her the first woman to write a book in the English language (that we know of).

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St Seraphim of Sarov

Prokhor Isidorovitch Moshnin, who later took the name Seraphim, was born in central Russia into a trading family. In his youth his father died and at the age of 15, Seraphim went to the famous monastery of Caves at Kiev, later entering the Sarov monastery in the Oka region as a novice. He was ordained a monk in 1786 and a priest in 1793. The following year he built himself a little hermitage in the forest where he spent ten years in the most austere conditions, feeding wild animals by hand. He was left crippled after a savage attack by robbers.

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Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005. He was elected pope by the second Papal conclave of 1978, which was called after Pope John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after 33 days. He was proclaimed Saint on 27 April 2014 by Pope Francis, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in attendance.

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