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Renaming monks


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#1 Guest_Augustine Martin

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:32 AM

I realize that monks are renamed to symbolize rebirth.

1. How much influence does a monk get in his own name? It would seem awful to get stuck with an ugly name for the rest of your life.

2. Is this name at all relevant to your patron saint?

3. Non-monastic bishops are renamed upon ordination, but are monastics re-renamed when ordained to the presbytery?

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:01 AM

1. In that the first vow of a monastic is obedience, an "ugly" name would be a wonderful opportunity to learn humility. However, how can the name of a SAINT be "ugly"? I suggest it is not ugly to God. What constitutes "ugly"? Personal preference? A monastic gives that up.

2. The name of a saint given to you can be considered a "patron", why not?

3. A new name is often given at ordination, but not always.

#3 Guest_Augustine Martin

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:05 AM

1. Fair enough, but suppose a monk has a name he really likes that sums up his vision for himself. Is he allowed to suggest it to the one naming him?

4. Is he named upon entering the monastery or upon being tonsured?

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:14 AM

1. It depends, mostly upon the abbot of the monastery in question, I suspect.

2. A monastic is given a new name upon taking vows/being tonsured.

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:56 AM

1. How much influence does a monk get in his own name? It would seem awful to get stuck with an ugly name for the rest of your life.


Not being a monk - what I know is only hearsay. However, it is my understanding that common practice is for a monastic candidate to give a list to his spiritual father of names he would like to be given. This list is then taken under consideration and may or may not influence the name chosen.


2. Is this name at all relevant to your patron saint?


That saint becomes your patron saint.

3. Non-monastic bishops are renamed upon ordination, but are monastics re-renamed when ordained to the presbytery?


Not to my knowledge - although it could happen. Non monastic bishops are "renamed" not upon ordination, but rather on the taking of monastic tonsure and that new name is then the name under which they are ordained.


Fr David

#6 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:58 AM

Fr David has it pretty much exact. However, how much influence a monk gets in picking his new name depends on the Abbot and the specific traditions of the monastery, and that can vary. I know that the giving of a suggested list is a common practice, but I've also heard of instances where the monk didn't know what name he was going to get until he heard it during the tonsuring rite.

All said and done, what name you get is entirely up to your Abbot, but most Abbots take the individual's tastes and preferences (ie. the list of names they would like) into serious consideration, almost never picking a name that wasn't on the list.

#7 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:33 PM

I realize that monks are renamed to symbolize rebirth.

1. How much influence does a monk get in his own name? It would seem awful to get stuck with an ugly name for the rest of your life.

2. Is this name at all relevant to your patron saint?

3. Non-monastic bishops are renamed upon ordination, but are monastics re-renamed when ordained to the presbytery?


1. Often this is not known until the name is mentioned at the tonsuring.

2. It may nor may not be connected to one's original lay name.

3. All bishops become monastics. If they were not monastics before they were consecrated then they are given a new name at tonsuring. Monastics if they become priest monks keep their original monastic name from their tonsure.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#8 Olga

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:31 PM

Monastics if they become priest monks keep their original monastic name from their tonsure.


There may be a difference in the Greek tradition: I know of monks who are tonsured with one name, then renamed at ordination.

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

There may be a difference in the Greek tradition: I know of monks who are tonsured with one name, then renamed at ordination.


Interesting! The only difference for us in the formal title.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

Edited by Olga, 28 November 2011 - 11:13 PM.


#10 Jordan Dent

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:06 PM

At the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, WV - under the Russian Church abroad - the candidate chooses three names. One of these will then be chosen for him at tonsure. But I have not investigated the history of this tradition any further.

#11 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:50 PM

Dear in the Lord, Jordan,

This tradition (that of the novice offering three names, from which the abbot may choose) is not uncommon, and I know of it being followed in many places. Of course, the abbot is free to choose a name not from the last of three!

INXC, Fr Irenei

#12 Jordan Dent

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

Thank you, Father. I also met a nun (at the Entrance of the Theotokos Monastery in Maryland) who is named after a "living person" - Gerontissa Diodora of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Convent near Thebes in Greece, with whom she has close ties.

Best Regards, Jordan

#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:02 PM

Maybe they are merely sharing the same saint?

#14 Jordan Dent

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:14 PM

Maybe...but that's not what it sounded like. I will ask her again this week.

#15 Reader Paul A. Barrera

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:21 AM

I know a monk who is "named" after a famous elder of thrice blessed memory. In practice, he is named after the same patron saint as his "name sake." He has an icon of the saint on the door to his cell.

#16 Jordan Dent

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:11 PM

Herman and Paul, that is the situation.

Maybe they are merely sharing the same saint?


I know a monk who is "named" after a famous elder of thrice blessed memory. In practice, he is named after the same patron saint as his "name sake." He has an icon of the saint on the door to his cell.


I am curious - Why are they re-named? Does the name change have anything to do with the "New name" in Revelation chapter 2? Maybe there are already threads about this; I will try to look them up.

My Mom (non-Orthodox) has been a bit offended since my Chrismation, that I go by my saint's name now. She asked, "Wasn't the name I gave you at birth good enough?"

#17 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:48 PM

Why rename? Well, Abram became Abraham, Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter, because the Lord said so! Seems like precedence.

Taking a "new" name was "the thing to do" when I became Orthodox, dying to the "old" man and "putting on the new man" and all that. If you come from a culture that has some sort of Christian historical tradition, you may have a perfectly acceptable saint's name to begin with, just keep it. But many people have names that do not have a "saintly" origin and the taking of the name of a saint certainly seems appropriate.

#18 Father David Moser

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:48 AM

My Mom (non-Orthodox) has been a bit offended since my Chrismation, that I go by my saint's name now. She asked, "Wasn't the name I gave you at birth good enough?"


OK, you just hit on one of my pet peeves - so if you read any further just keep in mind that I am now officially on a rant:

People who have perfectly good Christian names should not go changing them just because they become Orthodox. I have a lot of people (converts) in my parish who for whatever reason decided that they should have a different name than the one they carried from birth even though the birth name is a perfectly good Christian name. If the saint, whose name you carried from birth, was kind enough to bring you to the true faith, why in the world would you want to abandon them at the very moment of your baptism?! I've heard of priests who insist that everyone take a new and different name at baptism - ridiculous I say. If you have a good Christian name, then by all means keep it. At least honor the saint who brought you to the doors of the Church (whether you knew it or not).

I did not have an acceptable saints name when I was baptized and had to take a new name - it was forced on me. Fortunately there was a perfectly acceptable "family name" (David) that I could adopt (David was my maternal grandfather and the patriarch of his clan - it is an honor to carry his name). Thankfully my parents understood the process and so didn't get all emotional about it. But why in the world would anyone change their name if they didn't have to? Such foolish people we converts are.

OK, now the rant is finished - please return to your regularly scheduled web browsing.

Fr David (formerly something else)

#19 Xenia Moos

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:31 AM

I prefer to use my Saint's name because the name given to me at birth is the name of a pagan goddess!




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