Thursday, May 12, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Saintly Names

Hello, readers!

For my first Throwback Thursday in a while, I'll be looking at the feast days associated with today's date, May 12th. Quite a few holy figures have their feast days today, and the names are fantastic!

Let's begin!

Blessed Imelda
The patron saint of First Holy Communicants, Imelda's backstory is extraordinary (but not altogether unusual, as far as saints go). Imelda is of German origins, meaning "great battle". Today, the name is associated with former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, as well as actress Imelda Staunton. Both are strong personalities, and with a name like Imelda, your little one could be fierce. 

Blessed Joan of Portugal
A beatified princess, Joan of Portugal rejected a courtly life in favor of joining a convent - very rare in royal families. She managed to avoid numerous marriage proposals and remained with the church until her death. Also known as Joana, Joanna, or Johanna, her name is rather well-used today and in history. But Joan has yet to make it back onto the top 1000 - could its history and recent use in Mad Men bring it back?

An early Christian martyr, Crispoldus also has the distinction of possessing a very rare name - so far I've been unable to find any etymologies for it! I'm guessing it has something to do with Crispin - meaning "curly" - and the suffix "-bald" - meaning "bold". If you have any ideas, tell me in the comments!

Dominic de la Calzada
The patron saint of Spanish civil engineers, Dominic de la Calzada is associated with quite a few roads and churches built near La Rioja. He is also associated with the symbols of the hen and rooster - see the full story here. The name Dominic has gradually been increasing in popularity since the 1960's, and is currently at #68. Variations Domingo or Menico are less popular. 

Epiphanius of Salamis
His name may be a mouthful, but the real-life Epiphanius was anything but frivolous - he was an early iconoclast in the church. Variation Epifanio was on the top 1000 in the 1880's, and nine baby boys were name Epifanio last year. Sixteen girls were named Epiphany, and with names like Trinity and Destiny ranking highly, why not?

Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras
These four Christian martyrs have their feast day celebrated together, hence their listing. Nereus comes from the Greek word for water, and is also associated with the god of the sea; feminine variations Nerea and Neria were used for girls last year. Achilleus is a bit extensive, but Achilles made the top 1000 for the first time this year - if you can get past the "heel" reference, it's lovely. Domitilla, while somehow foreboding in English, has been used in France as Domitille. It could be pronounced like "domicile" in the US, though. Pancras... sounds much too much like "pancreas" to me. 

Germanus I of Constantinople
Opposite our earlier friend Epiphanius, Germanus was an iconodule who promoted icon usage in the early Church. The name Germanus means "brother" in Latin, but it may also refer to the country of Germany and its earlier names. Today, Jermaine and Germany are used as names, but the "germ" beginning is a little unsavory. 

Philip of Agira
While very little is known about the life of this saint, he is one of the patron saints of the US Army Special Forces - go figure. Philip is a classic English choice meaning "lover of horses" (as well as a personal favorite). Agira, incidentally, is a town in Sicily - and both Sicily and Sicilia were used as names for girls last year. 

Other feast day participants include Modoald and Gregory Dix. Tell me your favorite names in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I believe Crispoldus's name is actually related to Greek Chrysopolitos.