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Author Topic: Going by the name of your Patron Saint  (Read 4533 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marat
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« on: December 27, 2006, 11:30:15 PM »

I don't know if this is the right place for this thread. If not, please move it.

I know some people in the Orthodox Church who go by their saint's name. Others do not. And many, the names are the same anyway. Is there a rule about this, or a custom? For those of you whose names do not match, which do you go by?

I tried searching for a thread like this before, but wasn't coming up with anything. Excuse the repeat if it has been discussed before.
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 11:58:00 PM »

When I introduce myself to an Orthodox Christian, I introduce myself as Reader Seraphim, then tell them they can call me Landon.  Either name is fine with me.  For sacraments it's always Seraphim.
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 12:07:57 AM »

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I introduce myself as Reader Seraphim

Is there any precedence for this practice of people in minor orders going by their title other than converts and the far right wings of the ROCOR?
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 12:23:55 AM »

I don't know if this is the right place for this thread. If not, please move it.

I know some people in the Orthodox Church who go by their saint's name. Others do not. And many, the names are the same anyway. Is there a rule about this, or a custom? For those of you whose names do not match, which do you go by?

I tried searching for a thread like this before, but wasn't coming up with anything. Excuse the repeat if it has been discussed before.

Well, I'm not Orthodox, but we Catholics take saints' names too, so I might as well respond. My name is Bede (actually, it says Beda, the Latin, on the certificate).

I don't go by it---yet!
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2006, 02:34:14 AM »

I know some people in the Orthodox Church who go by their saint's name. Others do not. And many, the names are the same anyway. Is there a rule about this, or a custom? For those of you whose names do not match, which do you go by?

From what I understand, this is one of those personal-freedom areas. Some people prefer to go by their saint's name after joining the Church. Others, like myself, prefer to go by their own Christian names.

One doesn't need to pick some foreign or unpronouncable name. A friend of mine was being badgered into picking a Greek name at our old parish, but he held out and managed to find his English name on a list of pre-schism Celtic saints.

According to my present priest, however, being "forced" to change one's name is all nonsense. (His words, not mine!) One can simply keep their own name and celebrate a "Name day" on All Saints. Some members of my family who recently converted have done just that. I have noticed that other people Father has baptised have also retained the names given to them by their parents.
 
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2006, 02:46:50 AM »


One doesn't need to pick some foreign or unpronouncable name. A friend of mine was being badgered into picking a Greek name at our old parish, but he held out and managed to find his English name on a list of pre-schism Celtic saints.
 

I love it when that happens to our new converts! I really enjoy pointing them in the direction of the pre-schism Saints from the British Isles, and then seeing what they or their Godparent feel is the right choice for the person. Sometimes people forget this is a very viable option, and it is one perhaps we in the clergy should suggest if/when the situation presents itself.

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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2006, 03:23:04 AM »

I love it when that happens to our new converts! I really enjoy pointing them in the direction of the pre-schism Saints from the British Isles, and then seeing what they or their Godparent feel is the right choice for the person. Sometimes people forget this is a very viable option, and it is one perhaps we in the clergy should suggest if/when the situation presents itself.

Yes, I like it, too. Too often converts seem to be expected to lose their own cultural identity and heritage - or they willingly throw it away. One person I know of fell out with his parents by insisting they called him by a Russian name they considered horrendous. 

Considering I'm English-Celt (Father English, Mother Welsh), I toyed with the idea of Celtic/Anglo-Saxon saints' name, but they seemed all as unpronouncable as the Greek. Shocked Somehow the idea of a priest having to pronounce something like Aethelflaed every time I took communion seemed too cruel, so I decided to go with my middle Christian name, Irene - and chose St Irene Chrysovalantou as my patron saint. Even though it would be completely odd to be called Irene in regular usage, it still seems sort of pre-ordained. Grin


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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2006, 03:29:15 AM »


 Somehow the idea of a priest having to pronounce something like Aethelflaed every time I took communion seemed too cruel, ....

Gosh, I would love to help anyone receive the Eucharist with a name that 'interesting'! I would definately remember it!
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2006, 03:39:46 AM »

Gosh, I would love to help anyone receive the Eucharist with a name that 'interesting'! I would definately remember it!

LOL - too late now!
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2006, 04:00:46 AM »

My given name is Donna, and my Patron Saint is Mary the Mother of Our Lord ("Donna" being a derivative of the Italian "Madonna," i.e. the Theotokos)...my priest suggested I choose the Theotokos, which I had a mind to do anyway, but this way my personal heritage is still retained (I am Italian and in fact come from a Roman Catholic background). I was chrismated "Donna Mary," for which I am grateful because my given name is now a part of my new Orthodox heritage as well as my family's heritage. My spiritual father sometimes calls me Donna Mary, sometimes Mary, and communes me under either. At my current parish, the priest communes me under Donna (something he did without asking if I received under a different name, and although he isn't my spiritual father, I trust his actions and do not believe it is my place to suggest he do otherwise), and I introduce myself as Donna when I visit other parishes. I usually give my name as Donna when I am being communed at a parish where I am visiting, because inevitably the priest will greet me afterward as the name I spoke at communion, and I find the entire thing awkward and self-conscious to have to explain that I go by Donna when the priest will right off the bat call me Mary (if I offer Mary at the communion cup). It's one of those tricky things for which I just use my own discretion based on what causes the least discomfort for all involved, and since my given name was included in my chrismation, it feels right and correct to do so.

Every situation is different though -- speak to your priest about it, and see if he has guidance on how to navigate this tricky part of being a convert. If using your patron's name when interacting with family or friends who have known you for a long time alienates them and you, my gut is to caution against it -- I know my priest would say it is far better to retain and strengthen my pre-Orthodox relationships through Christ, than to damage them on account of joining His Church and conforming to a custom that isn't an issue for cradle Orthodox because they are probably called by their patron saint's name since birth. Ultimately I would do whatever your priest suggests and find comfort in the act of obedience to your spiritual father. Smiley

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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2006, 10:57:10 AM »

I could have stuck with "William", but I've always been drawn to Justinian. I never introduce myself under that name though, and am only called with when receiving communion. Oh, and when my priest jokingly calls me "Your Majesty".  Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2006, 12:15:22 PM »

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And many, the names are the same anyway. Is there a rule about this, or a custom?

My wife was encouraged to take a saint with the same name (Cecilia) when she converted, though her priest allowed her to take Mary because of special circumstances that I don't need to go into. Her family calls her Cecilia, most of my family calls her Mary, and many people at Church called her Mary or Mary Cecilia. I don't remember being encouraged to take the name Justin when getting chrismated, though I pushed for Justin Popovich anyway.  So... guess that doesn't help, except to further indicate that there is no one set way. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2006, 12:25:17 PM »

Well, I came very close to taking Anthony in honour of Elder Anthony of Optina, a saint that I have great admiration for.  However, I decidded at the last moment to go with my given name Daniel.  So I do go by Daniel even though some insist on Dan.  Roll Eyes 
Anyways, I'm glad I did as I have had a good relationship with my patron and it has helped me in my life.  I can't prophize yet, but felines seem to take a liking to me. Wink
I guess I should have chosen a saint with a feastday not during lent. lol
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2006, 08:55:57 PM »

My name is Scott Michael, so when I was received into the Roman Catholic Church, I took St. Michael the Archangel as my patron saint. I will keep him as my patron saint when I am chrismated in the Orthodox Church.

My girlfriend (who is also a catechumen in the Orthodox Church) was brought up Hindu, and her name is the name of a Hindu goddess. I think that in this case she would almost have to accept a new name on chrismation, because "all the gods of the gentiles are devils" (Ps. 95:5) and you wouldn't want to go around saying "Hi, my name's Lucifer", would you?
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2006, 09:12:23 PM »

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My girlfriend (who is also a catechumen in the Orthodox Church) was brought up Hindu, and her name is the name of a Hindu goddess. I think that in this case she would almost have to accept a new name on chrismation, because "all the gods of the gentiles are devils" (Ps. 95:5) and you wouldn't want to go around saying "Hi, my name's Lucifer", would you?

Never met any Greek women by the name of Athena?
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2006, 09:17:37 PM »

you wouldn't want to go around saying "Hi, my name's Lucifer", would you?
I wouldn't wan't to be called "Lucifer" because it is one of those stupid words which combine Latin and Greek. But the concept of the name ("Light bearer") is kinda nice. However, if you wanted it to be an entirely Greek word, it would be "Phosphorus" which would be even better.

Never met any Greek women by the name of Athena?
Athena is a Saint. Personally, I would have loved to have been called "Dionysus" (after St. Dionysus of course) or Bacchus (after St. Bacchus of course). Wink
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2006, 09:27:38 PM »

What, you don't like Saint LuciferGrin
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2006, 09:44:44 PM »

My girlfriend (who is also a catechumen in the Orthodox Church) was brought up Hindu, and her name is the name of a Hindu goddess. I think that in this case she would almost have to accept a new name on chrismation, because "all the gods of the gentiles are devils" (Ps. 95:5) and you wouldn't want to go around saying "Hi, my name's Lucifer", would you?

If you think about it, the early pagan converts to Christianity didn't change their names to "Christian" names. We have St Dionysios in Acts; probably a follower of Dionysios before converting. St Aphrodite is another saint, that springs to mind, with the name of a pagan deity. And, if your girlfriend keeps her Hindu name, it will be Christianised and that's totally in keeping with the early saints Smiley

In the Vulgate, Christ is referred to as "lucifer" (2Peter 1:19). It doesn't seem that St Jerome intended satan to receive such a title, though the King James translates Isaiah 14:12 as a proper noun for satan and ignores it as a reference to Christ. Lucifer, meaning "light-bringer" hardly seems the appropriate name for satan - but definitely one for a Holy Saint.   Grin

Edit: Thought I had better add the pertinent scripture...

Isaiah 14:12

12   quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes

Isaiah 14:12

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, (son of the morning???) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!


2 Peter 1:19
et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris

2 Peter 1
19   We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2006, 10:19:23 PM »

What, you don't like Saint LuciferGrin
Like I said, I dislike words which combine two or more languages.....it makes etymology so messy.
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2006, 12:07:54 AM »

Like I said, I dislike words which combine two or more languages.....it makes etymology so messy.

I know this isn't a Latin language etymology board, but you are incorrect that Lucifer is a hybrid of Latin and Greek.  It is derived from lux, lucis (stem luci-) meaning light and from fero, ferre, tuli, latus which means to carry or to bring.  Its Greek calque (equivalent) is phero.  It is one of those many words which Latin and Greek share that go back to a common Indo-European source and remained unchanged through centuries of separation.  Other examples include personal pronouns (I=ego; you=tu, su) and some common titles like king (Latin rex; Greek anax). English words use both stems such as vociferous, describing someone whose voice carries (i.e. it is loud) or phosphorous, light carrying.

And just to keep with the spirit of the conversation.  My patron saint is John of Damascus and the only one who calls me John besides my priest when he serves me the Eucharist is my baptismal sponsor. 

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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2006, 12:49:15 AM »

I know this isn't a Latin language etymology board, but you are incorrect that Lucifer is a hybrid of Latin and Greek.
Wow! My mistake! in that case, I love the name Lucifer!
Thanks John! Wink
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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2006, 02:21:12 AM »

Wow! My mistake! in that case, I love the name Lucifer!
Thanks John! Wink

Lucifer was the most beautiful of all the angels before he rebelled against God. Perhaps his name is supposed to be beautiful, like the names of the other angels?
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« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2006, 02:10:04 PM »

I love the name Lucifer, personally. Satan has no claim to ANY name after his rebellion. So I guess it's up for grabs.  Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2006, 03:07:57 PM »

I love the name Lucifer, personally. Satan has no claim to ANY name after his rebellion. So I guess it's up for grabs.  Cheesy

But, is there any actual evidence that Lucifer is the name of Satan at any point at all?  It is certainly used for Jesus in 2 Peter, and the existence of the aforementioned Saint Lucifer seems to cast doubt that anyone of his era would have made such an automatic association.  So much in this area is just assumed.  It is very common to see people talk about inverted crosses as a satanic symbol, yet that is a Christian symbol relating to St. Peter, and I have even seen  pictures of a chair of the late Pope John Paul II with several in relief on it.  I just have my doubts that the idea of Satan being named Lucifer is anything other than presumption and popular legend, with nothing to really indicate it.

Patrick
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2007, 11:32:32 PM »

I see a number of people do it in limited situations. Does anyone go by their saint's name all the time? If so, why? I'm curious about this topic.
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« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2007, 02:37:31 AM »

Hi Marat,

My father confessor wanted to take the name of saint when he was going to be ordained. He was born in Syria and his given name is Samer, which from what I understand is a very common muslim name (many Christians will give their children muslim names to help them avoid being harrassed by muslims). This priest happens to be acquainted with Patriarch IGNATIUS of Antioch and when the patriarch heard about this priest's upcoming ordination he asked the priest not to change his name but to keep it and claim it for the faith by becoming a saint! How is that for high expectations?  Cheesy
So he has kept his given name as a priest and is trying to fulfill the Patriarch's wish.  Smiley

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« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2007, 12:48:41 AM »

Hi Marat,

My father confessor wanted to take the name of saint when he was going to be ordained. He was born in Syria and his given name is Samer, which from what I understand is a very common muslim name (many Christians will give their children muslim names to help them avoid being harrassed by muslims). This priest happens to be acquainted with Patriarch IGNATIUS of Antioch and when the patriarch heard about this priest's upcoming ordination he asked the priest not to change his name but to keep it and claim it for the faith by becoming a saint! How is that for high expectations?  Cheesy
So he has kept his given name as a priest and is trying to fulfill the Patriarch's wish.  Smiley



That must be overwhelming for him. Personally, I think I'd be better off with that saint's name rather than make a name into one. Still, every name had to start somewhere. I admire his willingness to try and live up to that.
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« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2007, 02:47:02 AM »

Marat,

What I have observed is most priests end up living a life of sacrifice so maybe it is not so hard for them to attain as it may seem. This particular priest has been through the fire literally (his parish was burned down by arsonists). He has been humilated publically by parishioners in his community. To bring healing to his parish community he prostrated himself before the people to ask their forgiveness when peace alluded them. Through all of his struggles he continues to maintain a peaceful and loving nature. As a confessor he never allows me to give up when I fail. I feel so blessed that God brought him to my life.

in Christ, Tamara
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« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2008, 02:47:09 AM »

From what I've read, the reason for choosing a Patron Saint's name is twofold.  The first reason is because when one converts, they want to identify with their new outlook.  I've heard the use of 'putting on the new man' being applied to the choosing of a Christian name is but one aspect of that verse.  And I seem to remember reading that, except in the case of women changing their surnames for marriage, choosing a name for religious purposes ranks #1.  The second reason is so that the convert can read the live of their particular saint anytime they need inspiration or direction, and so always have a sort of built-in mentor.



As for using my Patron Saint's name?  My given first name is Christian so obviously the first reason wouldn't necessarily apply to me.  I've always liked the name Gabriel so that's who I chose for my Patron Saint.  As much as I can get away with it, I love to go by Gabriel.  A few people at work are Roman Catholics and so are familiar with the concept and they'll call me Gabe or Gabriel in a private setting.  At church though, I usually introduce myself as Gabriel.
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