Author Topic: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?  (Read 3030 times)

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Offline Blissfully Unaware

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Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« on: May 08, 2010, 01:28:04 AM »
I was raised Roman Catholic and my parents gave me a saint's name.

HOWEVER, I have never identified with this name. Also, I have struggled with my faith since I was young and I want a new name to signify my new life in my newfound faith. For these reasons I would love to enter Orthodoxy with a new name. Would it be looked down upon, since I already have a saint name? Or is it okay?

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 01:39:27 AM »
If your saint is a saint in the church you join, then it would be traditional to keep the name, as the belief is that said saint has prayed you into the church. Is it a post-schism saint?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 01:39:34 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 01:43:03 AM »
I was raised Roman Catholic and my parents gave me a saint's name.

HOWEVER, I have never identified with this name. Also, I have struggled with my faith since I was young and I want a new name to signify my new life in my newfound faith. For these reasons I would love to enter Orthodoxy with a new name. Would it be looked down upon, since I already have a saint name? Or is it okay?

In the Eastern Orthodox Church you would be able to take a new Saint's name.

But I would add  - do not forget your "old" Saint's name.  It could well be that Saint who deserves your love and gratitude for guiding you on your spiritual journey and caring about you and your salvation.

Offline Blissfully Unaware

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2010, 02:07:15 AM »
I wanted to add -  I hope to be received into the Syriac Orthodox church.

I'm not sure if the saint is a saint in my church as someone asked before. My saint lived in the 1400s.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 12:50:59 PM »
As in all such matters, I would recommend that you talk with your spiritual father and pastor for your final answer on this issue.

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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2010, 02:19:54 PM »
My advice is to take a saint whose name you will actually use. That is why for those who have a saint's name already, I strongly advise they use the saint they already have. For those who do not have a Saint's name, but have something very similar or translatable, I will recommend they go with an equivalent. For instance, I baptized someone named Shari as "Agape."  Shari can either come from Hebrew Sharon or it can be from French "Mon Cherie." The latter means my beloved. Agape means beloved; hence, Agape.  I knew in this case that as an adult female living in an area with almost no adult Orthodox, it would be difficult to get her to use any other name, so instead of creating a strange duality where we call her one thing in Church and another at home, I used an adaptation.

My name before baptism was Dustin, which literally means "Thor's Son" and is totally pagan...there was a St Dustan, but the name is not equivalent.  Others suggested I pick Justin, but that would be awkward too for people to call me Dustin/Justin and get it confused all the time.  I ended up picking Anastasios for various reasons, and I do tell people my name is Anastasios, but at work (I'm a missionary priest, so I work a secular job) and such, people still call me Dustin...it creates awkwardness for me and I highly suggest that people not place themselves in such a position.
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Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 03:14:33 PM »
but that would be awkward too for people to call me Dustin/Justin

Acts 13:9  ;)

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 08:21:56 PM »
My advice is to take a saint whose name you will actually use. That is why for those who have a saint's name already, I strongly advise they use the saint they already have. For those who do not have a Saint's name, but have something very similar or translatable, I will recommend they go with an equivalent. For instance, I baptized someone named Shari as "Agape."  Shari can either come from Hebrew Sharon or it can be from French "Mon Cherie." The latter means my beloved. Agape means beloved; hence, Agape.  I knew in this case that as an adult female living in an area with almost no adult Orthodox, it would be difficult to get her to use any other name, so instead of creating a strange duality where we call her one thing in Church and another at home, I used an adaptation.

My name before baptism was Dustin, which literally means "Thor's Son" and is totally pagan...there was a St Dustan, but the name is not equivalent.  Others suggested I pick Justin, but that would be awkward too for people to call me Dustin/Justin and get it confused all the time.  I ended up picking Anastasios for various reasons, and I do tell people my name is Anastasios, but at work (I'm a missionary priest, so I work a secular job) and such, people still call me Dustin...it creates awkwardness for me and I highly suggest that people not place themselves in such a position.

Just to add on to what Fr. Anastasios has said, if you choose to use a different name I would recommend that you do NOT force your current friends and family to call you by your chrismation name.

I've told this story before, but it's worth repeating. A friend of mine was baptized into a Protestant church as an infant with a perfectly good Biblical name. As an adult, when he converted to Orthodoxy, he took the name of a Greek saint. The problem arose when he forced all of his friends and family to call him by his new name. His parents, in particular, were very offended that their son had rejected the name they had given him as an infant. As a result, his father has a lot of bitterness towards the Orthodox Church for "changing" his son.

I've also heard of stories where people are called their chrismation name when partaking of the sacraments, but use their "secular" name in all other instances. I think this can create the least amount of confusion, should you decide to switch.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 08:22:14 PM »
I was raised Roman Catholic and my parents gave me a saint's name.

HOWEVER, I have never identified with this name. Also, I have struggled with my faith since I was young and I want a new name to signify my new life in my newfound faith. For these reasons I would love to enter Orthodoxy with a new name. Would it be looked down upon, since I already have a saint name? Or is it okay?

In the Eastern Orthodox Church you would be able to take a new Saint's name.

But I would add  - do not forget your "old" Saint's name.  It could well be that Saint who deserves your love and gratitude for guiding you on your spiritual journey and caring about you and your salvation.

I would second all of the above.

I took St. John of Damascus as my patron because of similiarity in life (Arab, academic among Muslims, etc.), but didn't take the name John or even Yuhana. Isa means Jesus. Can't much improve on that.
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 10:33:43 PM »
What is the name?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2010, 01:33:46 AM »
I'll add the story of my wife's name here. When I met her she introduced herself as "Mary Cecilia". Cecilia was her given name, and Mary was the name of her patron saint when she became Orthodox. I asked her which she preferred, and she said either was fine, so I chose Mary. Naturally since I called her Mary that's what my family knew her as. However, as one would expect, all of her family called her cecilia. Well, when our two families would get together and my family would call her Mary, not a few of her family got frustrated and annoyed. Even when I would call her Mary, her mom would sometimes say "Who?" sarcastically, somewhat playfully and somewhat annoyed.
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Offline Clare G.

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2010, 09:42:34 PM »
I strongly recommend you read this article http://www.holy-trinity.org/general/names.html

It helped me to find St Photini as my patron saint, as her name has the same meaning as mine (clear, bright, illumined). Coincidentally, I was chrismated on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, who is known to tradition as St Photini. However, I was chrismated with my own form of that name, Clare, and it remains my name both at church and in all other contexts, except perhaps if I ever find myself wishing to receive communion from a priest who speaks only Greek.

Offline HouseOfGod

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2012, 08:35:05 PM »
but that would be awkward too for people to call me Dustin/Justin

Acts 13:9  ;)
Wow, I wouldn't have thought of that. Insightful :)
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Offline HouseOfGod

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Re: Can I choose another name for Chrismation?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2012, 08:37:50 PM »
My advice is to take a saint whose name you will actually use. That is why for those who have a saint's name already, I strongly advise they use the saint they already have. For those who do not have a Saint's name, but have something very similar or translatable, I will recommend they go with an equivalent. For instance, I baptized someone named Shari as "Agape."  Shari can either come from Hebrew Sharon or it can be from French "Mon Cherie." The latter means my beloved. Agape means beloved; hence, Agape.  I knew in this case that as an adult female living in an area with almost no adult Orthodox, it would be difficult to get her to use any other name, so instead of creating a strange duality where we call her one thing in Church and another at home, I used an adaptation.

My name before baptism was Dustin, which literally means "Thor's Son" and is totally pagan...there was a St Dustan, but the name is not equivalent.  Others suggested I pick Justin, but that would be awkward too for people to call me Dustin/Justin and get it confused all the time.  I ended up picking Anastasios for various reasons, and I do tell people my name is Anastasios, but at work (I'm a missionary priest, so I work a secular job) and such, people still call me Dustin...it creates awkwardness for me and I highly suggest that people not place themselves in such a position.

Just to add on to what Fr. Anastasios has said, if you choose to use a different name I would recommend that you do NOT force your current friends and family to call you by your chrismation name.

I've told this story before, but it's worth repeating. A friend of mine was baptized into a Protestant church as an infant with a perfectly good Biblical name. As an adult, when he converted to Orthodoxy, he took the name of a Greek saint. The problem arose when he forced all of his friends and family to call him by his new name. His parents, in particular, were very offended that their son had rejected the name they had given him as an infant. As a result, his father has a lot of bitterness towards the Orthodox Church for "changing" his son.

I've also heard of stories where people are called their chrismation name when partaking of the sacraments, but use their "secular" name in all other instances. I think this can create the least amount of confusion, should you decide to switch.
Wow, that's terrible  :-\
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