How to Choose the Name of Your Child
Talking about names, I think that from the first hour after we have given a name to our child we should give him also the zeal of virtue.
Talking about names, I think that from the first hour after we have given a name to our child we should give him also the zeal of virtue. No one should heed to name their children after their ancestors, mother, father, grandmother or grandfather but after the righty, the martyrs, bishops or apostles, so that their name may be an occasion, an urge to imitate their lives. A child should be named Peter another John, and so on.
And please, reject all pagan customs. Great is the shame of the Christians who practice pagan customs. It is outrageous! To light candles and see which one goes out first and all sort of similar things that ruin all those who practice them. And don’t think they are little things!
This is my request from you: name your children after the saints. Of course, in the past it was a normal thing to name your child after an ancestor, as a consolation for their loss, but because they used to think that people continue to live through the name given to a child in the family. But this is no longer the case. We see that the righty don’t do this anymore. For instance, Abraham had Isaac and Jacob and Moses do not bear the name of their ancestors.
A name can urge to virtue, can set an example. What other reason do we need in order to change the practice previously mentioned, than the one that the name remembers us about virtue? The Bible says: “thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1: 41). Why? Because you already confessed. See also “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (Genesis 17:5 and the next). Similarly, Jacob changed his name in Israel because he saw God. From here, starting with the name, we should start fashioning the soul of our child.
Let the names of our saints enter our home through the baptism of our child, because the name of a saint not only that will contribute to his education but also will honour the father, if we are to think that he will be the father of a John, Elias or a Jacob. Then if we choose the name with faith and to honour those who bore them and died, and if we appreciate more to become relative with a saint that with our ancestors then, these names will also be of benefit to us and the children. Don’t think that if a child is young, he is not important, on the contrary, he is very important because the name of a saint is the spring of all his benefits in life.
(Sfântul Ioan Gură de Aur, Părinții și educarea copiilor, traducător Ieromonah Benedict Aghioritul, Editura Agapis, București, 2007, pp. 70-71)