However, I've now been told that, although the names mean the same, I shall have to be addressed as Photini whenever I am in the church, even at coffee hour. That was totally unexpected and I'm finding it very hard to accept as it sounds so foreign to my ears. I'd be glad to hear other people's views about this.
My opinion, having had long experience in both Greek and Russian flavours of Orthodoxy, I honestly cannot see a problem with you being called Clare. The name Photeini
means bright one
, or glowing,
as does Svetlana,
. Perhaps this name was bestowed on the Samaritan woman to illustrate her enlightenment on becoming a Christian, and, with Greek being the lingua franca
of the Greco-Roman world at the time, this woman received the Greek form. If another language was the order of the day at the time, then her name would be known to us in a different form. To our Arabic and Romanian members: How is this name rendered in your languages?
Another example (and by no means the only one) of multiple forms of names is Kyriakos
(Latin, Italian, etc), and Bogdan
(Serbian and other Slavic languages). All are derived from the word for Lord in their respective languages, and all are considered acceptable Orthodox baptismal names. The same goes for names such as Lazarus
, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Eleazar
In short: If Svetlana
is regarded as an appropriate alternative form of Photeini
, then I cannot see any valid objection to your use of Clare
I can only assume that you being told that only Photeini is a suitable form of your name is due to some sort of cultural problem accepting a Latin form of the name. As rigid as some Russians can be on many matters, I've yet to come across any of them insisting on "only the Slavic" form of one's name be used.