Baptismal Names


How does one pick a baptismal name when one converts? My daughter, age 12, will be baptised soon, and I will be either baptised or chrismated. Neither of our names “suit.”


There is no “universal, standard” way by which a name is selected. In some traditions, for example, it is the custom to name a person after the saint commemorated on his or her date of birth. In other cases names are selected based on devotion to a particular saint. And, of course, there are those who select a name exclusively on personal preference.

It is interesting to note, however, that in the Orthodox Church the naming of a person occurs in a special rite celebrated on the eighth day after birth, thereby separating this action from the celebration of Baptism and Chrismation.

In the case of adult conversions, it would seem that the most meaningful way of selecting a “Christian” name would be to choose the name of a saint whose life one may especially wish to emulate or whose life offered special inspiration on the road to conversion.

It is always wise to discuss such matters with your parish priest who can offer personal direction in greater detail.