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Author Topic: Converts: Getting used to your new name?  (Read 3367 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 15, 2011, 11:38:42 PM »

When I entered the Church, I chose St. Tikhon of Moscow as my patron saint.  My "Christian name" became Tikhon.  At first, I had trouble getting used to it.  I kept picturing that tucan from George of the Jungle going "tuki, tuki!" when someone called me Tikhon. 

Now, I've found that I actually prefer to be called Tikhon.  Sometimes a priest I've met will call me Trevor, and I'll feel wrong in some way because he's not calling me Tikhon  Wink


I'm curious.  How did you converts get used to your new names?  Do you prefer them to your legal names?
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 01:21:48 AM »

Some of us had the benefit of already having Christian names.

My name is Matthew, and fortunately I was able to find an obscure clairvoyant with the same name so as not to completely curtail the exoticism in converting.
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 01:26:03 AM »

My priest actually prefers to call me by my real legal name. He is Jewish, so my actual name is easier for him to say and remember. I chose St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and he has a hard time saying it Cheesy But he can't remember (or say correctly) any of our children's names, so he prefers to use their saint names. He didn't even announce the name of our youngest because he couldn't say it. He just said: " (my legal name) and her newly born daughter" during liturgy. Grin
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 01:46:56 AM »

When I entered the Church, I chose St. Tikhon of Moscow as my patron saint.  My "Christian name" became Tikhon.  At first, I had trouble getting used to it.  I kept picturing that tucan from George of the Jungle going "tuki, tuki!" when someone called me Tikhon. 

Now, I've found that I actually prefer to be called Tikhon.  Sometimes a priest I've met will call me Trevor, and I'll feel wrong in some way because he's not calling me Tikhon  Wink


I'm curious.  How did you converts get used to your new names?  Do you prefer them to your legal names?

I prefer my saint's name, but it is rarely used, even in a church environment. That said, it is easier for some people to remember (and spell!)--I make a point of stating my preference when I am introduced to someone who is used to a church environment (Orthodox or otherwise).
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 02:34:25 AM »

I can't really speak to it yet, except my priest told me that he would only use my name during Communion or whatever. No biggie. I never heard my name (St. Therese) again after I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

But a funny story: I told someone at my church about the saint I'm going to pick (because there is no saint with my real name), and she looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "You know there's no way we're calling you that, right?"  laugh

(And for the someone who will ask for the millionth time, It's Saint Kassiani. I guess it's even too much for the Greeks!)

I can't wait to make this easier on my children. I know that if I have twin boys, it's Cosmas and Damian. End of story.
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 02:45:02 AM »

Noooo, Damian will have to endure endless "The Omen" jokes.


As to the OP, I already have a saint's name.
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 02:47:27 AM »

My youngest daughter's saint name is Kassiane, a variation of Kassiani.

Then our other children are Paraskeve, Seraphim and Anna. The new baby still doesn't have a saint name. I am pulling for Meletios/Meletius, my husband is so far on the fence about that saint choice.
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 03:01:05 AM »

(And for the someone who will ask for the millionth time, It's Saint Kassiani. I guess it's even too much for the Greeks!)

Everyone knows there is only one name for Greek females: Maria and the variations thereof.
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 05:01:45 AM »

I was surprised how quickly I learned to respond to Joseph. Now, if I'm meeting someone at a Church related event I introduce myself as Joseph. Some people, I believe, at church don't even know it's not my 'real' name. It helps though that 'Joseph' isn't really obscure. I do have a friend who I call Vladimir though his real name is...Jonathan? A man getting Chrismated at my parish will be going by Seraphim.

Actually the biggest issue I have with 'two names' is what to leave on my voicemail. If someone calls expecting to hear "You've reached Joseph" and hears instead "You've reached ______" I may miss out on messages!
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 08:02:02 AM »

Everyone knows there is only one name for Greek females: Maria and the variations thereof.

That's not fair! There is Eleni too...

Variations mean adding "oulla" to the end of any female name. People tell me it's cute, but whenever I hear the "oulla" variant of any name, I begin questioning the logic of the 6th commandment.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 09:47:50 AM »

I prefer my new Christian name to my old name. It is a constant reminder of the new man I am in Christ. It took me a while to get used to introducing myself as "Gebre," but now I have no trouble with it. Of course, my wife still calls me by my birth name- lol. But I don't get offended by people who have known me for years prior to my baptism and still call me "Reynolds" (my first name by birth, which was my mother's maiden name).

Just remember that your new name was given to you by God, and verified by your baptism into Christ and His Church. It is also a great way to tell others about the Orthodox Faith. Inevitably, people will ask you about your name, and that will afford you the opportunity to share your Orthodox Christian testimony with them.

BTW, I love your baptism name! Never be ashamed of it!  Smiley


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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2011, 10:56:25 AM »

My names are often used interchangeably at church.  Birth name is Keith, Christian name is Kevin.   
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2011, 11:43:04 AM »

I use my legal name, except at communion. Generally, priests and deacons (and once, a subdeacon) who do not know me will call me my baptismal name after a liturgy, and I don't bother to correct them, but if I am introducing myself to other people I just go with my legal name.

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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2011, 11:55:20 AM »

The only time I am referred to by my new name is during any sacraments, and on my blog which I haven't posted on in a while.
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2011, 05:11:44 PM »

I have a christian name but there are at least two saints with that name so I don't know who my patron saint will be.

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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2011, 05:21:20 PM »

Everyone knows there is only one name for Greek females: Maria and the variations thereof.

That's not fair! There is Eleni too...

Variations mean adding "oulla" to the end of any female name. People tell me it's cute, but whenever I hear the "oulla" variant of any name, I begin questioning the logic of the 6th commandment.

"-oulla" screams frumpy greengrocer with bad female moustache to me. Not cute.
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2011, 05:32:19 PM »

I can't really speak to it yet, except my priest told me that he would only use my name during Communion or whatever. No biggie. I never heard my name (St. Therese) again after I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

But a funny story: I told someone at my church about the saint I'm going to pick (because there is no saint with my real name), and she looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "You know there's no way we're calling you that, right?"  laugh

(And for the someone who will ask for the millionth time, It's Saint Kassiani. I guess it's even too much for the Greeks!)

I can't wait to make this easier on my children. I know that if I have twin boys, it's Cosmas and Damian. End of story.

I'm surprised to hear people struggle with Kassiani. I've known several, and think it's a beautiful name.

I suppose after living in an area with a lot of Hindu names (names usually contain 14 consanents and one vowel), Greek names are easy to me. *shrugs shoulders*
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2011, 05:33:15 PM »

Everyone knows there is only one name for Greek females: Maria and the variations thereof.

That's not fair! There is Eleni too...

Variations mean adding "oulla" to the end of any female name. People tell me it's cute, but whenever I hear the "oulla" variant of any name, I begin questioning the logic of the 6th commandment.

"-oulla" screams frumpy greengrocer with bad female moustache to me. Not cute.

Then there are the male diminutive names ending with -aki: Saki, Laki, Taki, Maki ... and the Russian pet names ending with -sha: Misha, Grisha, Sasha, Alyosha, Pasha (male); Masha, Tanusha, Sasha, Gasha, Natasha (female).  Cheesy
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2011, 05:34:12 PM »

^ The hysterical part is that the people who told me this were Greeks!

Most of the people at my church are lovely, but hyperdox they are not. I don't hear them using someone's saint name unless it's to wish them a happy saint day or to crack a church joke.
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 05:56:06 PM »

Everyone knows there is only one name for Greek females: Maria and the variations thereof.

That's not fair! There is Eleni too...

Variations mean adding "oulla" to the end of any female name. People tell me it's cute, but whenever I hear the "oulla" variant of any name, I begin questioning the logic of the 6th commandment.

That's not the adultery commandment, is it?
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2011, 06:02:57 PM »

That's not the adultery commandment, is it?

The murder one. My association with that variation is pretty much the same as Akimori's, so adultery is not the first thing to cross my mind when I hear it.
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2011, 06:32:35 PM »

My *not so new* Orthodox name is my middle *fairly old* Christian name. I have never been called by that middle name, though it's a name I rather like, and was suitable to use when becoming Orthodox. The only time it is used is when taking the sacraments. There has only been one person who persisted in using it beyond then, when I obviously preferred to go by my known name. Old habits die hard.

If I had known at the time of becoming Orthodox that I could have been baptised with my first Christian name, the one I was christened with a three months old and later confirmed into the Anglican Church, I would have done so in honour of my parents' dedication.  But there was such a fuss about "taking a saint's name" I thought it was something that was a fixed rule. When my daughter-in-law was seeking a saint's name before her baptism, I found out differently. The priest told her not to bother; that she could keep her name and simply celebrate her name day on All Saints.
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2011, 11:58:58 PM »

My patron saint's name also happens to be my middle name which was kind of intentional.

The only time I am called by my saint's name is for communion. When introducing myself to anyone new at church, I always give the name my parents gave to me.  Everyone at church calls me by this name.  Just because I'm Orthodox doesn't mean and shouldn't mean I am required to give it up (my legal name is also a saint's name--a great martyr).
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2011, 12:29:57 AM »

Yeah my parents gave me a perfectly good Christian name. As fun as going by Barsanuphius might have been there was no reason to take a new one.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2011, 12:43:34 AM »

I suppose it'll take me a while to get used to a new name, when I get one.  Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2011, 12:48:44 AM »

I suppose it'll take me a while to get used to a new name, when I get one.  Smiley
Have any ideas yet, Biro? Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2011, 01:00:50 AM »

Maria, which is similar to my middle name; Thekla or Irene, also possible, because I sit near their stained glass windows in church.  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2011, 01:03:04 AM »

LOL, I know what you mean. I sit next to Sts. Constantine and Helen and I'm now drawn to attending a Constantine and Helen church for a service someday. Seeing the icon is a comfort.

The names you want to choose are lovely -- very GREEK Grin
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2011, 01:03:35 AM »

Thank you.   Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2011, 01:41:32 AM »

Maria, which is similar to my middle name; Thekla or Irene, also possible, because I sit near their stained glass windows in church.  Grin
Somebody in my mission took the name Thekla.  You probably already know that Thekla was a disciple of the Apostle Paul.  Not a bad way to be remembered.
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2011, 01:43:55 AM »

I can't really speak to it yet, except my priest told me that he would only use my name during Communion or whatever. No biggie. I never heard my name (St. Therese) again after I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

But a funny story: I told someone at my church about the saint I'm going to pick (because there is no saint with my real name), and she looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "You know there's no way we're calling you that, right?"  laugh

(And for the someone who will ask for the millionth time, It's Saint Kassiani. I guess it's even too much for the Greeks!)

I can't wait to make this easier on my children. I know that if I have twin boys, it's Cosmas and Damian. End of story.
I googled Kassiani.  I thought she seemed fine, and it is a fine name.  Don't know why some of your comrads have trouble with it.
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2011, 01:45:09 AM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2011, 06:02:15 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?
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« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2011, 06:25:28 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?
Yep. And Dionysius, Narcissus, Zeus (iirc), Mercurius, and then of course Martin is derived from Mars, Demetrius from Demeter and Isidore means "gift of Isis."

There's also a St. Plato  Grin
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« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2011, 06:28:32 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?

Yes indeed.

St. Aphrodite was a martyr who gave her life for her conviction that an eternal living relationship of love with Jesus Christ,  the Holy Trinity, and all of the Saints of Heaven is worth more than life itself on earth.  This witness, which is the meaning of the Greek word “martyr,” has defined the very nature of Christianity from the very beginning of that witness of those who willingly gave their life without hurting anyone else, but rather suffering often in torture and death without complaint, blame, or resentment.  This is very different than the Islamic idea of martyrs who kill others, as the Christian witness is always with love and mercy towards all.

St. Aphrodite’s name in Greek means “born from the sea,” which in her case was the Sea of Faith.  This Faith is stronger than death, and more eloquent that all words and ideas, as it is proven in following the icon of the Lamb of God Who was silent before His accusers, and although almighty, did not defend Himself, but willing went to death innocent and blameless.  In this icon, St. Aphrodite’s cross signifies that she is a martyr, and her open hand symbolizes her willing acceptance of suffering for Jesus Christ.


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« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2011, 06:29:09 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?
Yep. And Dionysius, Narcissus, Zeus (iirc), Mercurius, and then of course Martin is derived from Mars, Demetrius from Demeter and Isidore means "gift of Isis."

There's also a St. Plato  Grin

and St Sokrates.
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« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2011, 06:33:37 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?

Yes, there is. She is one of the Forty Venerable Virgin-Martyrs, feastday September 1.
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« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2011, 06:38:58 PM »

I toyed with the name Aphrodite. Only for a moment or two. Wink

Is there a saint named Aphrodite?
Yep. And Dionysius, Narcissus, Zeus (iirc), Mercurius, and then of course Martin is derived from Mars, Demetrius from Demeter and Isidore means "gift of Isis."

There's also a St. Plato  Grin

and St Sokrates.
I thought so, I wasn't sure.
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Alpo
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« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2011, 06:40:58 PM »

I've never heard anyone adopting a different name due to conversion in Finland. People have their patrons but that's about it. Finns use regular names even for the sacraments. Changing names is only for the monastics.

I do admit though that I raised some eyebrows when I heard name of a Finnish Pagan god during chrismation couple of months ago. angel
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« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2011, 10:24:54 PM »

Like others, I also kept my Christian name---I loved my patron saint the Holy Apostle Thomas.

Thomas
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« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2011, 01:16:04 AM »

My name is Peter and I was not asked to adopt another name when I was baptized.  It would have felt strange to me to take a Slavic or Greek name to use at church.  Reminds me of when people join a Hindu sect and take the name Sivanada or such.  Did the early converts in Apostolic times change their names when becoming Christians, such as Cornelius the centurion?
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« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2011, 01:41:32 AM »

I can't really speak to it yet, except my priest told me that he would only use my name during Communion or whatever. No biggie. I never heard my name (St. Therese) again after I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

But a funny story: I told someone at my church about the saint I'm going to pick (because there is no saint with my real name), and she looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "You know there's no way we're calling you that, right?"  laugh

(And for the someone who will ask for the millionth time, It's Saint Kassiani. I guess it's even too much for the Greeks!)

I can't wait to make this easier on my children. I know that if I have twin boys, it's Cosmas and Damian. End of story.
I googled Kassiani.  I thought she seemed fine, and it is a fine name.  Don't know why some of your comrads have trouble with it.

I love the hymn of Saint Kassiani! We sing it during Holy Week on Holy Tuesday.

Here is an English version by Boston Byzantine Choir.

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« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2011, 01:51:01 AM »

Did the early converts in Apostolic times change their names when becoming Christians....


    Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. - (Matthew 16:17-18)
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« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2011, 01:54:10 AM »

Did the early converts in Apostolic times change their names when becoming Christians....


    Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. - (Matthew 16:17-18)

That seems like a unique example.  I would appear that the Greeks and Romans that were brought to Christianity by St. Paul kept their given names (as far as I can tell).

Thank you.
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« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2011, 02:37:12 AM »

My name is Peter and I was not asked to adopt another name when I was baptized.  It would have felt strange to me to take a Slavic or Greek name to use at church.  Reminds me of when people join a Hindu sect and take the name Sivanada or such.  Did the early converts in Apostolic times change their names when becoming Christians, such as Cornelius the centurion?

Clearly, they didn't. Or we wouldn't have any saints called Aphrodite, Dionysius, Sokrates, Longinus, etc, etc. As a general rule, early Christians didn't seem to feel the need to change the names they were given by pagan parents.
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