Friday, April 23, 2010

Receiving an Orthodox Name

Q & A with Fr Job, installment IX:
Question: My name is Lily. I was Baptized with my name, and only recently learned that there is no such name and that there is some rite that can give me a Church name. Or have I gotten something wrong?

Answer: Inasmuch as in Baptism you did not receive an Orthodox name, you must be given one in other Mysteries: Confession and Communion. For this you must chose any name of an Orthodox saint. The priest, pronouncing the mysteriological words “Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, by the grace and mercy of His love-of-man...” pronounces this Orthodox name. Approaching the holy chalice, one should again be named by this name. The priest, giving you the Holy Mysteries, names you by this Orthodox name, which fastens this name to you.

In the life of St Philaret of Moscow there was an occurrence when a priest at a Baptism did not pay attention to the gender of the child and therefore pronounced a name which, however harmonious and etymologically close, was still wrong, inasmuch as through one’s name an Orthodox person is united with the saint whose name he bears. The saint [i.e., St Philaret] indicated that mistakes be corrected at the time of Communion.

1 comment:

Jon Marc said...

If I may comment, a meaning for your name is purity. Catherine is also generally taken to mean purity, so why can you not be communed under your name with St. Catherine as your patron?

'Translating' names in this way has often been done in the past - my mother's name (Muriel) is the Gaelic form of Photina and the Russians themselves translated St. Photina's name when inserting it in their calendar (as Svetlana). Likewise, I have friends named Janet, which is a form of John/Jean(ne)/Joanna.