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Author Topic: What to look for in a patron saint?  (Read 361 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sam G
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« on: May 05, 2014, 10:35:13 PM »

What's the standard Orthodox criteria for picking a patron saint at baptism/chrismation? 

A friend of mine was asking recently, and from my own experience, I was never really told if there was anything specific to look for, I just picked St. John Chrysostom because of how instrumental he was in my own conversion.  Should someone be looking for something more than that?

Thank you, and God bless. 
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2014, 10:44:41 PM »

What's the standard Orthodox criteria for picking a patron saint at baptism/chrismation? 

A friend of mine was asking recently, and from my own experience, I was never really told if there was anything specific to look for, I just picked St. John Chrysostom because of how instrumental he was in my own conversion.  Should someone be looking for something more than that?

If you already have a saint's name, you don't really need to pick another.  But if you're going to pick another, it's up to you: pick based on how meaningful the saint has been in your life, someone whose feast is near your birthday, someone whose story particularly inspires you, etc.  AFAIK, there's no rule. 
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 11:21:34 PM »


If you have no particular saint in mind... I would do as Mor mentioned, and pick one which falls near your birthday.

Back in the old country...parents didn't name their children...the priest did....at baptism....and he named the child according to the saint of that day...and the parents then gave them nicknames.  Wink

As an Elizabeth...I have two well known saints to pick from.  St. Elizabeth the mother of the Forerunner, and St. Elizabeth the New Martyr.  I have icons of both.

However, from childhood, I always related to the mother of St. John the Baptist.  I even wanted to name my son John, if I ever had one.  My sister's name is Anna...as is St. Elizabeth's sister (the mother of the Theotokos).
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 11:25:00 PM »

just to add..depending on your name...it doesn't even have to be an exact 'match'....you might be named a derivative name of a saint..

I am...and thus my choice was made for me, other than a which one of these Dionysius' shall i go with.

For that, Father suggested one...I didn't really find much that I could identify with....he then later gave me reading assignments for another....and in reading that Dionysius' very brief pieces of writing (most of it was not preserved), I found numerous points of either commonality or just clarity in the way he expressed concepts.

and that was that...
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 11:29:39 PM »


If you have no particular saint in mind... I would do as Mor mentioned, and pick one which falls near your birthday.

Back in the old country...parents didn't name their children...the priest did....at baptism....and he named the child according to the saint of that day...and the parents then gave them nicknames.  Wink

As an Elizabeth...I have two well known saints to pick from.  St. Elizabeth the mother of the Forerunner, and St. Elizabeth the New Martyr.  I have icons of both.

However, from childhood, I always related to the mother of St. John the Baptist.  I even wanted to name my son John, if I ever had one.  My sister's name is Anna...as is St. Elizabeth's sister (the mother of the Theotokos).


This custom is not the only one in the "old countries". Just as common is the custom of naming one's children after one's parents, and, if there are more children, after other members of the family. Another, less common one, is the naming of a child after a particular saint, in gratitude for prayers to that saint answered.

But, as Mor said, there are really no hard and fast rules, though I agree that it is better to retain one's existing name as a baptismal name, if it is suitable.
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2014, 07:27:27 PM »

Since my name isn't a saint one in orthodox I have 3 on my birthday I can pick any of the three then  ?
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 07:30:46 PM »

Since my name isn't a saint one in orthodox I have 3 on my birthday I can pick any of the three then  ?

jewish voice, did you see my earlier post?
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2014, 08:00:13 PM »

Since my name isn't a saint one in orthodox I have 3 on my birthday I can pick any of the three then  ?

jewish voice, did you see my earlier post?
just wanted to clarify that's all if I pick it then that Has to be my new name since I anit got a saint name
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2014, 08:03:46 PM »

Since my name isn't a saint one in orthodox I have 3 on my birthday I can pick any of the three then  ?

jewish voice, did you see my earlier post?
just wanted to clarify that's all if I pick it then that Has to be my new name since I anit got a saint name

My advice?

Start Catechism with an Orthodox Priest first.  Let him get to know you, and the topic will come up in due time.  He may have some ideas for you about who to choose.

This is not the thing to get hung up on and worried over until well into the process.
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2014, 09:30:33 PM »

Since my name isn't a saint one in orthodox I have 3 on my birthday I can pick any of the three then  ?

jewish voice, did you see my earlier post?
just wanted to clarify that's all if I pick it then that Has to be my new name since I anit got a saint name

Please PM me. There is a chance your name might be a suitable Orthodox name.
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« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 01:17:29 AM »

I didn't change my name because I am convinced I will one day be venerated as a saint and wanted to be the first on board the patron saint bandwagon.  Cool
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« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 09:37:24 AM »

My husband had chosen St. Kevin, an Irish saint, and his middle name. However a GOA Bishop we know fixed that for him by choosing St. Dionysios of Zakynthos as his patron saint. So that was that! Now our priest calls him "Dionysios" when giving him communion.
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« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 09:43:32 AM »

My name is David but I didn't feel any real connection to any of the St. Davids I knew and since he was the first Orthodox saint I'd read about and I'd always considered monasticism I choose St. Seraphim of Sarov I hope one day I'll be worthy of bearing his name  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 12:12:41 PM »

My saint's name was given to me in absentia by a priest who was blessing an apartment where I am a nominal resident.

My civil name is Jeff; apparently there is no Orthodox saint Jeffrey/Geoffrey/Godfrey, Gottfried or even Bogomir, so Georgii I am.

I feel a distinct lack of the soldierly virtues in my life, so I look to Great Martyr George the Trophy-bearer as an example and intercessor, that I may learn discipline, courage, perseverence, and obedience to godly authority.

It also happens that I have a great-uncle George (now departed this life) who fought his own battles as best he could.
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« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 01:39:09 PM »



My civil name is Jeff; apparently there is no Orthodox saint Jeffrey/Geoffrey/Godfrey, Gottfried or even Bogomir, so Georgii I am.

I'm not suggesting that you should make a change, but you might still want to look at the life of this saint  Smiley. I know a priest who is Fr Geoffrey, so I figured the name must come up somewhere. My non-Orthodox son is also Jeffrey, so I have done a bit of work on this.
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« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 02:14:56 PM »

I'm not suggesting that you should make a change, but you might still want to look at the life of this saint  Smiley. I know a priest who is Fr Geoffrey, so I figured the name must come up somewhere. My non-Orthodox son is also Jeffrey, so I have done a bit of work on this.

Good to know. Thanks!
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