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Nimipäivät | Namsdagar | Name days

Orthodox Name Days

An Orthodox name day calendar can be found in Yliopiston nimipäiväalmanakka (University Name Day Almanac). It is a calendar of saints of the Finnish Orthodox Church, published in the pocket almanac Ortodoksinen kalenteri (Orthodox Calendar). Over the years, there have been changes to the name list to some extent.

At its core, the Orthodox name day calendar is primarily ecclesiastical. According to ecclesiastical tradition, every day of the year is dedicated to the memory of some holy figure, such as a martyr or a prominent Doctor of the Church.

It is typical of the Orthodox name day calendar for the same name to appear on several different days. For example, there are numerous saints in the calendar bearing the name Johannes, referring to John the Apostle, John the Baptist, Saint John of Damascu and Saint John Chrysostom. A person’s name day, however, is determined by the saint he or she was named after. According to Orthodox tradition, a child is given only one christening name. The name is chosen because that saint’s name day is close to the child’s birthday or the family feels a close connection to the saint.

The non-Finnish names of saints in the Orthodox calendar often have Finnish equivalents. For example, Riiko, Riku and Reijo will be found on 17 November, Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus’ day.

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