Which World Leader Once Trained to Become a Priest?

As with every other office, the priestly office is one that requires training. There are many leaders recorded to have been trained to be priests, however there is one that stands out.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian and was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. Besides being General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was also its Chairman. As a dictator, he transformed Soviet Union from agarian society to global superpower. He was trained as a priest before becoming a leader, and he caused the deaths of many Soviet citizens.

Let’s take a look at some of these leaders that were trained to become priests.

Which World Leader Once Trained to Become a Priest?

There have been several world leaders who were once trained to become priests. One example is Pope John Paul II, who was born Karol Józef Wojtyła in Poland. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1946 and later became Pope in 1978, serving as the leader of the Catholic Church until his death in 2005. Other examples include:

Thomas More

Thomas More, who served as the Lord Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. More was trained as a lawyer and a theologian, and was also ordained as a priest. He is remembered for his loyalty to the Catholic Church and his refusal to accept the king’s supremacy over the Church, which ultimately led to his execution.

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu, who was an Archbishop in the Church of the Province of Southern Africa and played a prominent role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He was ordained as a priest in 1960 and later became the first black Archbishop of Cape Town.

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Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer, who was a theologian, philosopher, and medical doctor. He was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1912 and later worked as a missionary in Africa, where he established a hospital in Gabon.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, the current pope of the Catholic Church, trained to become a Jesuit priest before being ordained as a bishop and eventually becoming pope.

Tony Blair

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, studied theology at Oxford University and considered becoming a priest before entering politics.

Thomas Monson

Thomas Monson, the former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), trained to become a missionary before being ordained as an elder and eventually becoming the leader of the church.

Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un: Kim Jong-un, the current Supreme Leader of North Korea, was reportedly trained to be a priest in Switzerland. It is not clear if he completed his training or if he ever intended to become a priest.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, studied to become a Baptist preacher while he was a young man. He never completed his studies and instead pursued a career in politics.

What Future Soviet Dictator Was Training to Be a Priest when He Got Turned on To Marxism?

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin, who became the Soviet leader in 1924 and remained in power until his death in 1953, was the dictator who was training to be a priest when he turned to Marxism.

When Stalin was sixteen, he received a scholarship to attend the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary, the leading Russian Orthodox seminary in Tiflis. The language of instruction was Russian. Despite being trained as a priest, he became an atheist in his first year. He was a voracious reader and became a Georgian cultural nationalist. He anonymously published poetry in Georgian in the local press and engaged in student politics. He was expelled in 1899 after missing his final exams. The seminary’s records also suggest that he was unable to pay his tuition fees. At that time, Stalin discovered the writings of Vladimir Lenin and joined the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party, a Marxist group.

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More Info: en.wikipedia.org

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What Is the Process of Becoming a Priest?

There are several stages in the process of becoming a diocesan priest. Although the steps may vary from one diocese to another, they follow a general format that is followed by all dioceses. There is a difference between the diocesan priesthood and the priesthood of religious orders. As a priest of a religious order, you live in a community and take vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, among other things. In spite of the fact that religious order priests can also be parish priests, the vast majority of priests worldwide are diocesan priests who oversee parishes and bring souls to God through their ministry.


In this stage of the process, there is a similarity between the contact period and the shadowing period. It is wise for a man who is interested in becoming a priest to check with his pastor to see if he might be called to this ministry. As part of this process, he will have an opportunity to engage in a discernment relationship with the diocese during this time period. The advantages of doing this are that he will be able to regularly discuss a vocation in the church with his priest, conduct research on the priesthood and meet with seminarians who have already begun the process of preparing for the priesthood in the Orthodox Church. He will also be invited to participate in other workshops, retreats, and discussion groups apart from attending retreats and discussion groups. It is very important at this stage of the man’s life for him to be actively involved in the life of his local parish as well as to keep in mind his daily prayers at all times.


As a prospective priest declares his intentions and becomes a candidate for the priesthood, the relationship between the parish and the prospective priest becomes more formal. There are many interviews and meetings that will take place during this time with the office of vocations during the application process. It is the beginning of the application period.

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When all of the interviews and meetings have been completed, a parish will be asked to sponsor the candidate for the position. After that, he will enter a seminary for theology so that he can study for the priesthood. Now that the priest prospect has reached this point, he or she has become a seminarian. As an alternative to going to seminary, some individuals choose to get their online theology degree before starting their studies.

Transitional diaconate

After a seminarian has completed his studies in theology, he is ordained as a transitional deacon after he has completed his theology studies. It is important to note that the role of a visiting deacon differs from the role of a permanent deacon. It is at this stage in the formation process that prospective priests serve in the diaconate for roughly a year and make a promise of celibacy and obedience to their bishop.


There is a culmination to the process in the rite of ordainment, when a man enters the priesthood after many months of hard work and prayer.

How Long Does It Take?

There can be some differences between dioceses in terms of the timeframe for ordainment. A candidate for candidacy is generally required to have an undergraduate college degree as a prerequisite. Priests are required by the Church to complete between 20 and 24 hours of philosophy coursework at the undergraduate level in order to serve as priests. At the seminary level, seminarians need to spend four years studying theology in order to become priests.

Approximately one year after a priest graduates from the seminary, he or she serves as a transitional deacon for roughly two years. It typically takes five years from college graduation to ordainment, provided the priest has studied philosophy at the undergraduate level. If the priest has not done so, an extra year is added to the process, as he would be required to complete a year of pre-theology studies at seminary.


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