Friday, June 18, 2010

The Names Jesus and Mary

Q & A with Fr Job:
Question: I’ve heard that one should not name a girl Mary born on the Birth of the Theotokos. And that altogether one may not name a girl Mary in honor of the Theotokos, whenever she was born. Is this so? Explain, please, why.

Answer: In our Church it is not accepted to give a name in honor of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God. The reason is the deep reverence before Their holiness. The name of Jesus is given in honor of the Holy Righteous Jesus of Navin. The widespread name of Mary in Russia among Orthodox Christians is in honor of the holy God-pleasers Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, and others.


Fr. Justin said...

While this is true in the Russian tradition, it should be mentioned that there is a long-standing tradition among the Greek Orthodox and other Byzantine Orthodox, to name their children Maria, or Mariam, or Panagia(the all-holy) or Panagiotes for men, in honor and memory of the Theotokos Mary. This is most often celebrated on the feast of her Dormition, but can also be doen on the Annunciation, Nativity, etc....Without taking away from the Russian practice, it always seems important to be aware of other venerable and valid practices within the entire Orthodox Church.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Justin posted what I was going to add. Some Greek women bear the name Panaghiota (female of Panaghiotes). Thus far (over thiry years in the faith), all of the Greek women named Mary or Maria, whom I have met, were named in honor of the Theotokos. Not until my family started attending Slavic-background parishes did we learn that Slavic Orthodox Christians do not name girls/women in honor of the Theotokos.