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Labosseuse
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« on: May 31, 2007, 02:38:48 PM »

I'm wondering about how people have chosen their patron saints.  Is there some place that has all the major saints listed?  What made you decide to choose the saint you did?  Personally, the saint I've most connected with is the Blessed Virgin, but my name is not Mary or any derivative thereof.  Should I try to find someone else?

For Protestant converts in particular, what finally convinced you of the presence and goodwill of the saints?
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 02:47:13 PM »

Your patron saint is usually a saint whom you were named at the time of your Baptism/Chrismation. Converts have the ability to choose but infants rely upon their parents, God-parents , Priests, or as in the case of my grandson a Bishop.

In my grandson's case he was to be  baptised as Alexander but the Bishop insisted that he be chrismated as Alexis.  We in obedience baptised him as Alexis.

A good on-line listing of sainst may be found on the OCA website, they show the Sainst of the day, give their story , and their troparia and Kontakia.

Some Traditions choose the name of the Patron Saint based upon the Saints on the day of the birth or on nearby dates.

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 02:56:50 PM »

I'm wondering about how people have chosen their patron saints.  Is there some place that has all the major saints listed?  What made you decide to choose the saint you did?  Personally, the saint I've most connected with is the Blessed Virgin, but my name is not Mary or any derivative thereof.  Should I try to find someone else?

For Protestant converts in particular, what finally convinced you of the presence and goodwill of the saints?

My patron saint is St. John Damascene.  I chose him because I read a great deal of his writings and it was a great privilege to sing so many of the wonderful hymns he composed, especially for Pascha!  I also did a lot of work with him in graduate school so it was kind of a no-brainer.  The other things sweetened the deal.

I'm not aware of anyone being forbidden to take Mary as one's patron saint.  But I could be wrong.  May I ask what draws you to the Theotokos in particular?

As for your last question, I will answer thus.  The second I walked into an Orthodox Church with the icons of the saints who have gone to their rest and the angels, along with the singing I heard, I was convinced that to understand the Church as only an earthly "institution" was mistaken, but that the two kingdoms have become united in the Church where the saints continue to pray.  I grant this is not a rational answer, but this is the only one I can give.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 03:11:17 PM »

You could also try OrthodoxWiki, they have a good list.  http://orthodoxwiki.org/Category:Saints

My first name is biblical so I would be using it, especially since I feel a closeness to the Saint and it was the first icon that caught my eye and drew me to it when I stepped into an Orthodox Church.  There are many other reasons, but those are the main ones.  My Priest said if I wanted, since I am converting at a Serbian Church I could take the Serbian version of the name.  Which just happens to be the Priest's name.   Tongue

When I was choosing a Confirmation Saint (I am converting from the RCC), I read into a lot of pre-schism saints and wanted to find those that I felt closest with.  With prayer and a lot of reading, I ended up with St. Martin of Tours and Saint Maximus the Confessor.  I had a lot of issues choosing one, but I noticed that my confirmation day fell on the anniversary of my grandfather's death.  So I chose St. Martin of Tours, who is a Patron Saint of France and Soldiers (my grandfather was French and fought during the Second World War), and his feast day is November 11 (Remembrance Day in Canada, and a day I would always try to spend with my grandfather and go to the local parade with).
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 03:28:57 PM »

Hi Labosseuse,

Yes, like others have already written, I understand that in the Orthodox tradition, your patron saint is the saint whose name you carry. Mine is St. George the Great Martyr, the patron saint of England, Canada, Catalonia, Georgia, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Portugal, Ethiopia, Lyublyana, Istanbul and Moscow (sorry if I forgot some other country or city). Smiley

It should not be difficult to find out, who is your patron saint (unless, of course, your given name is not Christian - but then you will absolutely be given a Christian name at your chrismation - right, folks?). Just look up OrthodoxWiki or search Google using the word "saint."

I have an icon of Svyatyj Heorhij or Yurij Zmijeborets' (The Dragon Slayer, in Ukrainian) on a shelf next to the place in my house where I pray in the evening and in the morning. I look at him, talk to him, ask him to pray for me. We are great friends. Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 08:14:48 PM »

OK, so my name is Suzanne.  Would I then get Susanna, the myrrh-bearer?  Would I need to change my name?
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 08:37:29 PM »

OK, so my name is Suzanne.  Would I then get Susanna, the myrrh-bearer?  Would I need to change my name?

Or the Virginmartyr Susanna.


As the the second question, I'm not sure.  My name is Michael, so I am taking on the Archangel Michael as mine.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2007, 11:43:52 PM »

OK, so my name is Suzanne.  Would I then get Susanna, the myrrh-bearer?  Would I need to change my name?

Interesting coincidence.  My girlfriend's middle name, which she took as her christmated name, is Sioux (yes, after the tribe, but she is not Native American at all).  This is how her name appears on her birth certificate and on other official documents.  Her patron saint is Susanna the Myrrh-bearer and that did not require her to officially change her name.

As for myself, I told you that my Patron Saint is John Damascene.  My middle name is John, though my first name is Christopher.  I have seen other examples of converts using their middle name for their chrismated name.
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2007, 02:43:46 AM »

Yes, like others have already written, I understand that in the Orthodox tradition, your patron saint is the saint whose name you carry. Mine is St. George the Great Martyr, the patron saint of England, Canada, Catalonia, Georgia, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Portugal, Ethiopia, Lyublyana, Istanbul and Moscow (sorry if I forgot some other country or city). Smiley

You forgot Suceava, but that's OK. You might also be interested to know that St. Stephen the Great of Moldova (Suceava was his capital) used to go into battle with a wonder working icon of St. George when he was defending his country from the Turks. That icon was later gifted to a monastery on Mt. Athos, where it still is (and where I hope, God willing, to venerate it one day).

As to the OP, my patron is the Great Martyr St. James the Persian. My first name is James so as there are so many Sts. James, I wasn't given, and nor did I consider taking, the option of having a different saint's name (had I done so it would have been John, though, after the saint beside whose relics my journey to Orthodoxy began and who I still consider a sort of 'second patron', St. John the New of Suceava). Basically, I was given a long list of Sts. James by my priest and told to read their lives and choose one. Some were familiar, the one I eventually 'chose' (I think he already was my patron, to be honest, even before my Chrismation) was not. I read his life, was incredibly inspired, struck by the fact that it was his wife that eventually jolted him into coming back to Christ (as it was with me, though thankfully the results were less bloody) and then to top it all noticed that his feast day is the day after my birthday (and in Romania - perhaps I'd better say Bucovina - there is the tradition of giving children patrons whose feast days are close to their dates of birth). That clinched it for me.

I think I've posted a link here before, but as St. James the Persian is less well known, if anyone's interested, you can find an account of his life here:

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/pages/Orthodox_Life/st_james_persian.htm

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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2007, 03:54:33 AM »

Labosseuse, although my parents aren't Christian, I was named after the Archangel Michael.
When I became a Christian I looked for an early, well-known saint whom I could admire something about. I also looked for a name which is not too difficult for Aussies to say. I though about St. Ignatius for quite some time but I also wished to have a unique name. Hence I am named after St. Didymus the Blind (also known as St. Didymus the Seer) who is considered to be the first person to memorise the Christian Scriptures.
As I joined the Coptic Orthodox Church this name was not a problem however I believe that some Eastern Orthodox Churches don't recognise this saint. Nevertheless, all Christians recognise the Apostle Thomas Didymus. So by simply saying that my name is Didymus I am unlikely to find any objection to this name and it is fairly easy to say.

Hope this assists and you don't have to be named after a saint whose name is like yours.
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 07:50:12 AM »

Peace

As Didymus said, there is no push to have your patron saint as your own name in the Coptic tradition. Basically, whichever saint you feel close to and admire most is your patron, usually there are stories or experiences associated with your choice. My patron saint is Bishop Abraam of El-Fayoum, the Lover of the Poor as we call him because of his incredible generosity.

The story is that when I was a kid, we went visited his monastery in Egypt, and I was due to get my traditional cross-tattoo. When I saw the girl in front of me crying while getting hers done, I ran off in the crowd and ended up getting lost, eventually ending up in another village. My mum, being the softy that she is, went nuts and ran inside the church to where St. Abraams holy relics were, and basically sat there crying and vowed that she'll not move till St. Abraam brings me back. After like three hours and by pure chance, or I believe divine providence, our door-keeper was in that very village which was his. And so he saw me and brought me back right to my mum, who was still sitting beside the body. And my dad would joke around saying "your mother orders bishops around now". And yeh, since that day St. Abraam's been my constant companion.

Also, many Coptics have two patron saints, with the holy Theotokos being the default saint.


PS. Didymus, nice to hear from fellow aussies, you wouldn't happen to be in Sydney would you?
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 11:19:07 AM »

Being of half Welsh ancestry and half Syrian, I wanted a culturally familiar western saint to complement my conversion. I chose St David of Wales. Coming from Protestantism, my initial references were mostly scriptural. When Christ told the Sadducees that they do not know the teaching of the resurrection; "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob... the living not the dead" the significance of the living saints praying in heaven are part of this teaching. Additionally in the book of Revelation (beg chptr Cool the prayers of the saints rise with the smoke of the incense and experiencing the hymn of the Cherubim in my first Liturgy ( I was to be baptized Pentecostal that very day but I opted out and attended the Divine Liturgy instead) I surrendered to the true church. Also I had read in the respected, but non-canonical, book of Enoch that the saints offer intercessory prayers.
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 11:22:25 AM »

my reference to the Book of Revelation in my post referred to the beginning of chapter 8 and somehow a smile face appeared. Oh well.
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2007, 01:50:47 PM »

Well, I have a story to share too.  I have the Theotokos to thank for drawing me to Orthodoxy in the first place.  I am working on an MA in classical voice performance.  This semester the concert choir sang Javier Busto's Ave Maris Stella and I was given the solo.  (If you've not heard this piece you should definitely get your hands on it-it's beautiful!)  Anyway, whenever I'm working on music, I always try to associate the aria/solo with some emotion or experience, in order to make it believable to my listeners.  This was a new experience for me since I'd grown up basically ignoring Mary.  As I sang this solo over the course of several weeks, it dawned on me that I wasn't singing about my own mother--I'd not attached the music to any experience with her.  I felt a growing warmth and affection for this woman that I'd largely avoided.  As I began to learn more about her (I basically commenced my studies of Orthodoxy with articles about her), I realized that I had to "face up" to her as Fr. Gillquist writes.

When I sang the solo for one of our last concerts, I looked out into the church's auditorium and saw an image of her that looked something like this:



I'd never seen this icon before and it wasn't until I read St. John Maximovitch's book on venerating Mary that I realized that was what I saw.  That was a bit of a shock to me, but in a very wondrous way.  Anyway, that's why I'm so drawn to the Theotokos. 
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2007, 02:06:44 PM »

Hi Labosseuse,

Here are some links from a Russian Orthodox forum, with various icons of the Most Holy Theotokos:

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=49249

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=53563

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=53525

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=41536

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=60902

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=45640 (Dormition)
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2007, 02:14:48 PM »

Well, I have a story to share too.  I have the Theotokos to thank for drawing me to Orthodoxy in the first place.  I am working on an MA in classical voice performance.  This semester the concert choir sang Javier Busto's Ave Maris Stella and I was given the solo.  (If you've not heard this piece you should definitely get your hands on it-it's beautiful!)  Anyway, whenever I'm working on music, I always try to associate the aria/solo with some emotion or experience, in order to make it believable to my listeners.  This was a new experience for me since I'd grown up basically ignoring Mary.  As I sang this solo over the course of several weeks, it dawned on me that I wasn't singing about my own mother--I'd not attached the music to any experience with her.  I felt a growing warmth and affection for this woman that I'd largely avoided.  As I began to learn more about her (I basically commenced my studies of Orthodoxy with articles about her), I realized that I had to "face up" to her as Fr. Gillquist writes.

When I sang the solo for one of our last concerts, I looked out into the church's auditorium and saw an image of her that looked something like this:



I'd never seen this icon before and it wasn't until I read St. John Maximovitch's book on venerating Mary that I realized that was what I saw.  That was a bit of a shock to me, but in a very wondrous way.  Anyway, that's why I'm so drawn to the Theotokos. 

Wow, what an amazing story!

I was talking to my Priest (of course, this is just his take on it and it could be different for you) and even though you do not have Mary, Maria, or Mariam (or some other version) in your name, you could take her on.  Legally you would still be Suzanne, unless of course you legally change your name, but within the Church community (and around other Orthodox Christians) you would go by either Mary or whichever version you choose.  My Priest and I had discussed it earlier since he said many Roman Catholics, if they chose pre-schism confirmation Saints, often choose that as their patron.  So, I would have been Martin within the Church while Michael outside.  Though, I am deciding to use Archangel Michael as mine for multiple reasons (being drawn to his icon the first time I stepped into a Church, assistance he has given him and things he has protected me from, etc).
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2007, 05:30:03 PM »

Friul,

Here's a link to the same site I referred to when I replied to Labosseuse, with some awesome images of the Archangel Michael. Enjoy!

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=57849
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2007, 05:59:06 PM »

Friul,

Here's a link to the same site I referred to when I replied to Labosseuse, with some awesome images of the Archangel Michael. Enjoy!

http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=57849


Thank you so much!  They are absolutely breathtaking.
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2007, 12:35:55 AM »

  There are, obviously, different ways of "finding" a patron saint. I know many people who read Saints Lives, and chose as a Patron a Saint whose life impressed them especially, or chose a Saint whom they felt especially close to for whatever reason.
   A priest once told me that I had to name my son after a Saint whose memory was celebrated on the day my son was born-"If you do not," he said, "you will be insulting the Saint."
   Speaking of "lists" of Saints, the best "list" available, of course, is an Orthodox Calendar! A comprehensive calendar will have every Saint listed for every day of the year-ALL the Saints!
   Many people allow their spiritual father to choose the Saint they will be baptised in honor of.  Many converts feel that they MUST choose a name other than the one they have spent their life-up to that time-with. I was given some rather sensible advice on that point when I was told that many times, conversion to Orthodoxy is difficult enough, especially considering the reactions of one's family. Changing one's name can be an extremely difficult "pill" for the family sometimes. So, I was told that if you already have the name of an Orthodox Saint, that it might be better to kep that name. And, when one spends one's life with the name of an Orthodox Saint, we can remember that nothing happens by "chance," and that Saint has possibly been protecing us on our road to finding the Orthodox Faith. All Holy Saints, pray to God for us!
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2007, 12:43:14 AM »

Upon my reception into the Church ten years ago, my godparents took upon themselves the task of giving me an Orthodox name and assigning me to this saint's patronage.  They offered me to the patronage of the saint whose name I use as my screen name for this forum.  Holy Peter the Aleut Martyr, pray for me, the sinner.
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2007, 07:40:45 AM »

As the time for my chrismation approached, I wondered about what name and patron saint to choose. My name was already a saint's name (James) but I wondered if I should make a change to signify more completely my conversion to Orthodoxy. Finally instead of wondering, I decided to pray. Very quickly the direction of my thinking changed:  I came into my earthly family through adoption. It was my parents who gave me a new name to identify me with their family. I was now about to be "adopted" by the Orthodox Church. It should be up to the Church to name me, just as my adoptive parents did. So I took this to my priest and he gave me exactly the same advice that  A Sombra had been given.

There was one additional reason for my going to my priest.  In having him give me my name I was learning to submit to the Church.

Of course, the question remained, which James? My priest said that unless there was some reason to go with another one it should be the Holy Apostle James, Brother of our Lord. Well, I don't like going with the default just because it's the default. So I hunted around as many saints named James as I could find. Nothing seemed right, so I decided to pray again. (Someday I'll learn!) My priest had pointed out to me how important family needed to be especially so because I was converting without my family. The fact that a member of Jesus' own family could be my patron saint seemed exactly the right choice.

That settled it and I have no regrets.
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2007, 12:40:25 PM »

Upon my reception into the Church ten years ago, my godparents took upon themselves the task of giving me an Orthodox name and assigning me to this saint's patronage.  They offered me to the patronage of the saint whose name I use as my screen name for this forum.  Holy Peter the Aleut Martyr, pray for me, the sinner.

Maybe I should clarify one thing.  The name I was given at birth is actually a variant of the name of a very obscure pre-schism Western saint--my dad named me after his dad--so my priest thought it wise for me to take/be given the name of a much better known saint even though I could have kept my birth name.  (I still go by my birth name in all of my secular relations.)
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2007, 04:36:47 PM »

Quote
I was given some rather sensible advice on that point when I was told that many times, conversion to Orthodoxy is difficult enough, especially considering the reactions of one's family. Changing one's name can be an extremely difficult "pill" for the family sometimes. So, I was told that if you already have the name of an Orthodox Saint, that it might be better to kep that name. And, when one spends one's life with the name of an Orthodox Saint, we can remember that nothing happens by "chance," and that Saint has possibly been protecing us on our road to finding the Orthodox Faith. All Holy Saints, pray to God for us!

This is a really good point.  I know this will be the case for my husband and I if we convert.  My parents in particular are extremely sensitive about the names they have given us.  I remember once as a child I wanted to change my name to Rebecca and my parents took it personally. 
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« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2007, 08:02:48 AM »

meenas, originally yes, I am from western Sydney. Now I live on Bribie Island in Queensland. Are you aware of the Mission at Ningi? I'll PM this to you also in case you don't see it here.
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2007, 05:08:16 PM »

My daughter's name is Maryana. Who is (are) her patron saints? Thanks! (Just in case it could be important, her birthday is July 19.)
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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2007, 05:20:50 PM »

My daughter's name is Maryana. Who is (are) her patron saints? Thanks! (Just in case it could be important, her birthday is July 19.)
Well, George, with a name like Maryana, you could choose one of the saints named Mary--some traditional Orthodox cultures see it as improper to name a child after the Theotokos, but there are many other saints name Mary, such as Mary of Egypt--or one of the saints named Anna, to include the mother of the Theotokos.

Looking at July 19, my OCA (predominantly Russian) calendar lists this day as a day for venerating the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2007, 07:09:37 PM »

Thank you so much, Peter. I will include prayers to St. Anna mother of The Most Holy Theotokos, to St. Mary of Egypt, and to Holy Father Seraphim in my prayer routine. I will ask them to help illumine my kid's heart. She is absolutely wonderful, one of the kindest, most loving and caring and beautiful souls I know, but a very staunch sceptic-atheist.
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2007, 10:05:49 PM »

My parents, although not Orthodox, named me after St. Andrew the First-called, so he was a natural choice when I became Orthodox.
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2007, 05:55:26 PM »

My given name was Gerald James, but my parents weren't thinking of saints when they came up with it (my first name is in honor of a friend of my father's who had recently committed suicide after his wife found out he was cheating on her). There are three saints named Gerald that I know of---St. Gerald of Mayo (d. 731), St. Gerald of Aurillac (d. 909), and St. Gerald of Moissac (d. 1109). I don't know much about them and wasn't familiar with them until recently.

When I was confirmed, I wanted to take on the name of Benedict Bede (or Beda Benedictus, in Latin), but was told I could only take one. So I chose St. Bede the Venerable (though I still pray to St. Benedict of Nursia regularly). I had always been interested in Anglo-Saxon England, and Bede, the greatest historian of the Middle Ages, the only English Doctor of the Church, the only Englishman in Dante's Paradiso, always piqued my fascination. Since I grew up loving history and am a budding historian now, I have always had an affinity with him. He was extraordinarily erudite for his time, with works on natural science, including astronomy, dating, history, theology, Biblical exegesis, and some poetry. He, an 8th-century monk in Northumbria, had a knowledge of Greek. The kicker for me was his lifelong devotion to the Benedictine order, a tradition I've always loved.
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« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2007, 03:16:59 AM »

My daughter's name is Maryana. Who is (are) her patron saints? Thanks! (Just in case it could be important, her birthday is July 19.)

My sister-in-law is a Mariana and my daughter's goidfather Marian (both Romanians). They both have the Theotokos as their patron, I believe. I don't think that the name actually has anything to do with St. Anna, though that's no reason not to venerate her. I think it's one of those oddities where Marian was a masculine equivalent of Maria and they then later made a feminine equivalent of Marian to come up with Mariana, even though it was unnecessary to do so. Whether the same is true of the Ukrainian name, I couldn't be sure but I wouldn't be surprised.

James
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« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2007, 08:49:39 AM »

Thank you so much, James. Actually, in Western Ukraine they sometimes call boys Marian (or Maryan), too, so it well may be that they, indeed, first made a male equivalent of Mary as Maryan, and then a female equivalent of Maryan as Maryana. --G.
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« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2007, 12:09:41 AM »

When I was first inquiring about a year ago, I was very moved by the story of St. Mary of Egypt because she led a sinful past life (like me) but experienced the revelation of Christ's love and went into the desert to overcome her passions.  I would like to have her as my patron saint, but my catechist said that in my parish it's usual to have the same saint as your name.  So I will keep my fond feelings for St. Mary of Egypt, but will probably take St. Sarah of Egypt (Amma Sarah) as my patron.  All these years and I though there was no St. Sarah!   Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2007, 12:19:45 AM »

All these years and I though there was no St. Sarah!   Smiley
I'm sure we glorify Sarah, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac, even though she's OT.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2007, 12:24:08 AM »

When I was first inquiring about a year ago, I was very moved by the story of St. Mary of Egypt because she led a sinful past life (like me) but experienced the revelation of Christ's love and went into the desert to overcome her passions.  I would like to have her as my patron saint, but my catechist said that in my parish it's usual to have the same saint as your name.  So I will keep my fond feelings for St. Mary of Egypt, but will probably take St. Sarah of Egypt (Amma Sarah) as my patron.  All these years and I though there was no St. Sarah!   Smiley

 No disrespect towards your catechist, but I was under the impression that one was free to choose whatever saint one felt a closeness towards. Some folks don't want to be called by their saints' name, and so, thinking that everyone will want to call them by said saint, they choose a saint with the same name as theirs. Maybe this is how your catechist personally feels? I would talk it over with your Priest.
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« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2007, 12:24:42 AM »

 I chose the ArchAngel Gabriel because he(?) is loved in both Islam (my past) and Christianity. Sometimes I wonder if it is better for one to choose a human saint because they provide a more personal connection because they went through all that we go through (and often worse).
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« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2007, 12:29:43 AM »

No disrespect towards your catechist, but I was under the impression that one was free to choose whatever saint one felt a closeness towards. Some folks don't want to be called by their saints' name, and so, thinking that everyone will want to call them by said saint, they choose a saint with the same name as theirs. Maybe this is how your catechist personally feels? I would talk it over with your Priest.

Maybe this tradition varies from one parish to another, but you are right to encourage Catechumen07 to talk with her priest about this.


Catechumen07,

Welcome aboard.  I hope your time here at OC.net is fruitful and enjoyable.

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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2007, 01:30:01 PM »

With the first name William, it was going to be hard for me to choose a pre-schism saint, and the ones that did exist I had no prior closeness to.

So I chose Justinian (my avatar), 106th Emperor of the Roman Empire.

I'm not even called Justinian until I go up for communion, of which I'm glad, because I like my original name too.
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« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2007, 09:00:42 AM »

Some people with the name of William will use the Greek practice of using an American nickname like Bill which in Russian will become Vasili and in Greek will become Basil.   


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« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2007, 10:31:23 AM »

In Greek, William is either Vasilis/Vasili (Agios Vasili) or Basil.
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« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2007, 07:11:20 PM »

Like most converts I too wondered what Saint's name to choose as chrismation drew near. I got out the Church calendar and looked at my birthday. Then It occured to me that since I had been born 6 weeks prematurely I should count up to the "proper" day and Found Dec. 6, St. Nicholas the wonderworker and Bishop of Myra. That was it!
The name was a comfortable fit from the start and grows more and more my own as the years roll on.
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« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2007, 11:42:28 PM »

This issue came up for us as my wife and I converted to Orthodoxy a few years ago. We were both baptized RC but I do not know of any saint being given to us (we being post VC II babies). Our priest suggested looking in the calandar of Saints on our birthdays and see if there were any saints that we liked. If we could not choose he would decide for us. After reflection I chose the patron of my ancestral heritage St. David of Wales which coincidently is my given name and my wife chose St. Mary Magdaline which is a new name for her. I guess a good rule of thumb when addressing this issue is 1) Pray and 2) be comfortable with the saint you choose. Read the testamony of their lives and if need be talk to your catechist about possible choices. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that in the end, all the saints are good choices.
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« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2007, 11:50:30 PM »

Welcome to OC.net, aquaticus!
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« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2007, 11:06:56 PM »

First, I would like to greet everyone with a big Georgia Hug ! Wink I've been a catechumen since 04/'06, and am taking my time in training.

Now, about the Finding a Patron Saint. I have picked St. Thomas the Apostle. So if you can give me any info on St. Thomas, ie. books, articles, icons and such it would be most helpful. Thanks! Grin

In Christ
Thom

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« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2007, 11:33:37 PM »


 Welcome to the OCnet Thom!

 The church I attend is named after St. Thomas the Apostle. As far as information about him goes, I assume you're familiar with Gospel texts on him? Something I've always found fascinating is that he was, according to Church tradition, the Enlightener of India. In fact, most Indian Christians tend to name their churches after St. Thomas the Apostle.
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« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2007, 04:11:30 PM »

Regarding St. Thomas, here's a short something I wrote a few years ago. I think I was reaching too far in trying to support some of the point(s) that I was making, but the references might be of some interest...

Quote
Doubting Thomas?
Patristic Interpretation of the Scriptural Witness Regarding Saint Thomas the Apostle


The Apostle Thomas has become, in popular culture at least, the quintessential doubter and example of unbelief. Is this view of St. Thomas a realistic summation of his person, or something closer to a mistaken caricature? What does the Scripture say about him, and how do the saints of the Church understand these Scriptural verses?

When someone begins reading what the Church has said about Saint Thomas, they find out very quickly that the Church avoids the caricature normally associated with him today. In fact, what the Church says of Saint Thomas, including the various traditions handed down about him, is at times quite the opposite the view that has become entrenched in most of us. Certainly there was the episode after the resurrection of Christ our God, when Thomas did indeed have doubts: yet for the saints this was not something to condemn Thomas for, but was something of value for all of us. The Fathers preferred to approach that particular scriptural text as a way of learning something ourselves, not as a way to learn something (negative) about St. Thomas.

Saint Thomas spent his early life in purity and asceticism [1]. As with most of the Apostles, very little is told of Saint Thomas in the Scriptures concerning his personal life. Thomas being named as being among the other Apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Jn. 21:2), for instance, doesn't really establish anything we don't know. It was in response to the question of  St. Thomas in the Gospel of John, "Lord, we do not know where you are going: how can we know the way?" (John 14:5) that Jesus explained the important truth, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6),  but even in this important exchange we really don't learn much about St. Thomas himself.

Yet, there are thankfully a few verses in the Gospel of John which do help us to understand St. Thomas [2]. The first passage to consider is found in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John: "Then Thomas, the one who was called Didymos, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we might die with Him.'" (Jn. 11:16) There is some dispute as to what the motive was for Thomas saying this. One contemporary source sees this remark by St. Thomas as demonstrating that he was "a good and faithful servant of his Master" [3]. Saint John Chrysostom gives a totally opposite interpretation of the passage, however. In his Commentary on The Gospel of John, St. John Chrysostom says that: "the expression is rather one of cowardice," [4] and gives a similar interpretation elsewhere in his commentarie[5]. It must be noted, however, that Saint John quickly adds: "Yet he was not rebuked, for Christ as yet supported his weakness, but afterwards he became stronger than all, and invincible." [6]

Whatever the reason for the words by St. Thomas in Jn. 11:16, everyone agrees that he became one of the boldest, most faithful servants of Christ our God after the resurrection. That is, after Thomas had been assured that Christ had trampled death by death, he became "stronger than all, and invincible". But indeed, there was one episode that transpired before Thomas could be assured: and it is because of this passage, Jn. 20:24-29, that Thomas has been caricatured in popular thought.

Before going into what the Fathers thought of the passage, though, it would perhaps be beneficial to make two contextual comments about what might have been going through the mind of St. Thomas at the time. First, it must be remembered that Jesus had explicitly told the Apostles: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:23-25; Mk. 13:21-23).

Second, with this warning from Christ himself in his ears, St. Thomas might have very well remembered the words of the father in Mk. 9:24: "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief". Indeed, our Orthodox tradition teaches us that, if we see what we think to be a vision, or apperance of someone thought to be dead, that we should be extremely cautious, and that our cautious though faithful approach will be respected and will certainly not interrupt the vision/apperance if it is indeed sent from God. With these notes of caution perhaps in St. Thomas'  mind, we come to the passage in question:

"But Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymos, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore were saying to him, 'We have seen the Lord.' But he said to them, 'Unless I should see in His hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, in no wise will I believe.' And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Then cometh Jesus, the doors having been shut, and He stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace be to you.' The he saith to Thomas, 'Bring thy finger here, and behold My hands; and bring they hand, and put it into My side. And cease being unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God.' And Jesus said to him, 'Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'" - Jn. 20:24-29

What the Fathers teach on this passage is varying, though most intepret the passage with a positive light shining on (or from) St. Thomas. For many Church Fathers, the passage was a sort of proof text to use against the gnostic who claimed that Jesus had not had a real body, but had been essentially a phantom. Thomas' question, and Jesus' response, gave explicit evidence of both the fact that Jesus had a body while on earth, and that their had (and would be for us) a bodily--and not just spiritual--resurrection.

Saint Ignatius, for examples, says: "And I know that He was possessed of a body not only in His being born and crucified, but I also know that He was so after His resurrection, and believe that He is so now..." and then went on to give various scriptures that demonstrated this, including Jn. 20:27-28. [7] Many others saw exactly the same thing (and the same value) in this passage, including Ireneaus [8], Tertullian [9], Jerome [10], and Origen [11].

While the Tractate of Augustine which deals with the passage in question does not really give us much to work with[12], we find more pertinent words elsewhere in his writings. Blessed Augustine says that "the Lord censured" Thomas in one place [13], but in another place emphasises that Christ "did not spurn" Thomas, but instead "sought to heal the wounds of his mind" [14] It is not clear whether Augustine changed his mind, or thought both (that Christ both censured him but did not wholly spurn him). Either way, it is clear that Augustine didn't see the doubts expressed by Thomas as the infamous words society seems to view them as today, but saw the situation as being very much more complex.

What's more, the interpretation of some Fathers adds yet other levels of complexity to the situation, as when Saint Cyril notes that not only Thomas doubted, but that many (if not all) of the Apostles doubted: "Then after He had risen He entered through closed doors, but they believed not that it was He, for they supposed that they beheld a spirit. But He said, Handle Me and see. Put your fingers into the print of the nails, as Thomas required. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat?  And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and honeycomb." [15]

Like Augustine, St. John Chrysostom's views of Jn. 20:24-29 tend to go in many different directions. Saint John says that Saint Thomas can be, to some extent, "held to blame" because "he believed not the Apostles... not sure mistrusting them, as deeming the thing impossible." Yet, admitting that Thomas lapsed, Saint John said that "Christ did not deprive him" of his wish, but "fulfilled his desire". However, St. John says that the condescension to Thomas' unbelief did come with a "sharp rebuke". [16]

Having gone over all of this, and admitting that the person of St. Thomas is indeed complex (and we haven't even gone into the many interesting things he did not recorded in the Scripture!) Gregory the Great probably sums up best what the overall Orthodox position has been: "When the doubting disciple touched the wounds in his Mastery's body, He cured the wounds of our unbelief. Thomas' unbelief was of more advantage to our faith than the faith of the believing disciples, because when he was led bck to faith by touching Jesus, our minds were relieved of all doubt and made firm in faith." [17] Saint Leo the Great says something similar, noting that the doubts of Thomas have "profited us all". [18]

Following along these last two Fathers, the hymnographers of the Orthodox Church have often noted the positive aspect to the passage in which Thomas showed doubt; and may these last words be what we think of when we think of St. Thomas the Apostle!

"He [Thomas] tasted gall, healing the tasting of old; but now with honeycomb Christ gives the Forefather a share in illumination and his sweet participation. You rejoice as you are searched; because for this, O Lover of mankind, you invited Thomas, offering your side to the disbelieving world, confirming, O Christ, your Rising on the third day. The Twin, drawing wealth, O Benefactor, from the inviolate treasure of your side pierced by the lance, has filled the whole world with wisdom and knowledge. Your all-blest tongue is hymned, O Twin, for, being filled with grace from the touch, it was the first to devoutly proclaim Jesus the Giver of life to be God and Lord." [19]

"As the disciples were in doubt, the Savior came on the eighth day to where they were gathered and granted them peace, and cried unto Thomas: Come, O Apostle, and feel the palms in which they fastened the nails. O good unbelief of Thomas, which hath led the hearts of the faithful to knowledge! Hence, he cried out with fear: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee." [20]

"O amazing wonder! John leaned on the breast of the Word, but Thomas was found worthy to handle his side." [21]


Footnotes
[1] The Lives of the Holy Apostles, [Holy Apostles Convent, 1988], pp. 185, 188
[2] There are more verses mentioning St. Thomas in the Gospel of John than in the 3 other Gospels combined.
[3] Lives of the Holy Apostles, p. 185
[4] St. John Chrysostom, Homily 62 on John
[5] St. John Chrysostom, Homily 73 on John and Homily 5 on 1 Corinthians
[6] St. John Chrysostom, Homily 62 on John
[7] St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 3
[8] St. Ireneaus, Against Heresies, 5, 7, 1 and 5, 31, 2
[9] Tertullian, On the Soul, 17
[10] Bl. Jerome, Letter 108, 24
[11] Origen, Against Celcus, 2, 61-63; Though we should of course use caution when reading Origen, it must be admitted that he does makes a number of interesting and insightful points during his interpretation of the passage in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, 10, 27. These comments have not been included in this paper because they are not really relevant to the subject at hand.
[12] Bl. Augustine, Tractate 121 on John
[13] Bl. Augustine, Tractate 16 on John
[14] Bl. Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichæus Called Fundamental, 16, 8
[15] St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 14, 11
[16] St. John Chrysostom, Homily 87 on John; Saint John also speaks of this verse in Homily 6 on 1 Corinthians, but the content is not really relevant here.
[17] St. Pope Gregory the Great, Homily 25, Forty Gospel Homilies, 206-207
[18] St. Pope Leo the Great, Sermon 34, 3
[19] John the Monk, Sunday of Thomas, Canon To the Apostle Thomas, Ode 4, Troparia
[20] Sticheron from Lord I have cried, vespers for St. Thomas Sunday
[21] John the Monk, Sunday of Thomas, At Great Vespers, At the Aposticha. Idiomel Stichera (Tone 4.)
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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2007, 07:36:03 PM »

Asteriktos,
Thank you. St.Thomas the Apostle proved to all who have not seen that Lord and God is amoung us. Also, Thomas proved to all that our beloved Mary, Theotokos, was raised from her tomb, the tomb was empty.


By being late to Marys' funeral, St. Thomas met Mary in the sky on her way to Heaven Mary handed Thomas her cincture ,which may be at Mount Athos or somewhere nearby-I'm told.

So God used Thomas in two very important events in early christian history. Proof of Christs' Resurrection & Theotokos Bodily Assumption into heaven. I would think that these are two most important events that this follower of Christ took part in. Of course, St Thomas did great works in India also, such as the story of King Gundafor of India of which Thomas was sold into the Kings' service.

As it goes, King Gundafor sent his agent Abban to locate and hire a highly skilled architect. Abban came upon Jesus who sold St. Thomas to Abban, for three pounds of silver.The bill of sale saying "I Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter, do sell My slave Thomas to Abban."

So you see, St. Thomas is very special to me. And I thought that I would ask if anyone  would share any other stories of St. Thomas. 
Thanks!
Thom
 
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« Reply #46 on: July 05, 2007, 10:01:43 PM »

Great stories! Very inspirational.

By the way, welcome, new members! Very glad to have you here!
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