Philomena

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: debated
Eng (FIL-uh-MEE-nah); It (FEE-lo-MAY-nah); Fre (fee-loh-MEN)

The name is of debated meaning, though most definitely of Greek origin. It first came to the spotlight in the 19th-century when an excavation of a tomb in Rome on the Via Salerna revealed the remains of an early Christian martyr.

Some sources believe it is composed of the Greek elements, philo, meaning, “lover” and menos, meaning ,”strength.”

Others believe that it may be derived from the Greek word, philomene, meaning, “loved.” While others contend that it is a mixture of the Greek, philo (lover) and of the Latin, lumen, meaning, “light.”

When the tomb of St. Philomena was first discovered, the name was spelled Philumina, hence the reason why it is sometimes believed to mean “lover of light,” vs “lover of strength” or “loved.”

The story behind the saint is both interesting and controversial. In 1802 a tomb was discovered bearing the remains of a thirteen year old girl, her name, and symbols on the tomb indicating that she died a martyr.

There was virtually nothing known of her story. The saint’s relics were catalogued and put in storage in the Vatican archives till, in 1805, a priest from Mugnano Sicily ran into the relics while visiting the archives. He was suddenly struck with a weird sensation when he encountered the bones and requested that he take the bones back to his parish in Mugnano to enshrine them. After taking the relics back to his village, reports of miraculous cures of cancer and other diseases became attributed to the bones of the saint.

A young French woman who was stricken with a horrible cancer, by the name of Venerable Pauline Jaricot, in a desperate last attempt, made a pilgramage to the saint’s shrine. After visiting the bones of the saint, Jaricot was miraculously cured and lived to an old age.

The controversy comes in here: a nun by the name of Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, claimed she had a dream concerning the saint’s life.

According to her dream, Philomena was a girl of Greek nobility. Her parents took her on a business trip to Rome and while there, they were invited to one of the Emperor Diocletian’s lavish parties. There the young girl caught the attention of the greedy old emperor. Diocletian was known for his persecutions of the Christians and when he asked for Philomena’s hand in marriage, the girl refused, stating that she was a Christian and would not marry such a horrible man.

Philomena was sentenced to death and the nun claimed that in her dream she saw the saint with an anchor tied around her neck and before being thrown into the Tiber.

According to some sources, the saint was removed from the Calender after Vatican II, which lead to a huge misunderstanding that the Church no longer recognized her veneration. The Church still recognizes her cult as a saint, it was confirmed however, that the Church could never prove if she ever really existed. For more information of this strange tale, you can read the story here: http://www.philomena.us/.

I will not go into many more details of the story of the illusive saint, but I would like to point out that on the above website, there is an animated gallery of some really cool renditions of the saint. She is the only saint whose life is unknown yet who was canonized based on the numerous miracles attributed to her bones.

On some calenders, her feast is celebrated on July 5th, while others, September 9th.

The name is very popular in Southern Italy and Sicily where the name is rendered as Filumena. In France, her cause was imported, thanks to the devotion of St. John Vianney and there she was known as Philomène (FEE-loh-MEHN). In the 50s, the name was somewhat popular in Ireland.

As of 2010, Philomène was the 449th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Philomena (English)
  • Philomène (French)
  • Philoumène (French)
  • Filoména (Hungarian/Slovakian)
  • Filena (Italian)
  • Filomena (Italian/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Filumena (Latin/Neopolitan)

A masculine Italian form is, Filomeno.

Gaétan

 

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German/Polish/Italian/French
Meaning: “from Caieta.”
It (guy-TAH-no); Fre (GAH-eh-TAWn); Pol/Germ (KYE-eh-TAHN)

The name is derived from the Latin place name, Caietanus, meaning,  “from Caieta”. Caieta is now known as Gaeta.

In ancient Greece, this was a town where prisoners were taken to be executed. The town probably got its name from the wet nurse of Zeus in Greek myth.

It was borne by a 16th-century Italian saint, which spurred the popularity of the name throughout Europe. It has been in usage in German speaking countries as well as in Poland in the form of Kajetan and Cajetan, the name Kaj was later spun off from this name, now being more popular than its formal form in Sweden and Denmark.

As of 2010, its French form of Gaétan was the 122nd most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Caitanu (Asturian)
  • Kaitan (Basque)
  • Gaietà (Catalan)
  • Gaitanu (Corsican)
  • Kajetán (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Cajetaan (Dutch)
  • Gaétan (French)
  • Gaëtan (French)
  • Gaetano (Galician/Italian)
  • Kayetan (German)
  • Kajetan (German/Polish/Scandinavian)
  • Gaïtános Γαϊτάνος (Greek)
  • Caietanus (Latin)
  • Kajetonas (Lithuanian)
  • Aitano (Neopolitan)
  • Gaitano (Neopolitan)
  • Caetano (Portuguese)
  • Caetan (Romanian)
  • Cajetan (Romansch)
  • Kaetan Каетан (Russian)
  • Gajetànu (Sardinian)
  • Cayetano (Spanish)

Feminine forms are:

  • Gaetana (Italian)
  • Gaétane (French)
  • Gaëtane (French)
  • Kajetana (German/Polish)
  • Kaia (German)
  • Kaja (German/Polish)
  • Caietana (Latin)

Its designated name day is August 7.

Anthony, Antonia

Origin: Latin
Meaning: unknown

The masculine English name, Anthony, is currently the 7th most popular male name in the United States.

The name is derived from a Roman family name, Antonius, which is of speculated origins, it is suspected to be of Etruscan heritage and it was borne by Marcus Antonius, (Marc Antony), who ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Caesar Augustus during the 1st-century B.C.E. His romance with Cleopatra is retold in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra (1606).

The name was popularized in the Christian world due to the cult of St. Anthony the Great, an Egyptian hermit from the 3rd-century C.E. He is mostly noted for his establishment of Christian monasticism, another famous saint is Anthony of Padua, a 13th-century saint, who is known as the patron saint of Portugal and of lost items.

Originally, Antony was the more common form used in the English speaking world, and still is, to a certain extent, in the United Kingdom. The original English pronunciation was AN-tuh-nee, but AN-thuh-nee can also be heard in certain areas of the United States, particularly in the Midwest.

The lowest that Anthony has ranked in United States naming history was in 1885 when he came in as the 105th most popular male name.

His ranking in other countries is as follows:

  • # 48 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 33 Antoine (Belgium, 2006)
  • # 55 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 16 Antoine (France, 2006)
  • # 70 (France, 2006)
  • # 74 Antonin (France, 2006)
  • # 71 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 312 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 22 (Spain, 2006)

Its continental form of Anton, has always been a popular choice throughout Northern and Central Europe, in the United States, he is currently the 832nd most popular male name-2008, the highest he ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1885 coming in as the 175th most popular male name.

In other countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 4 (Finland, among Swedish-speakers, 2007)
  • # 11 (Sweden, 2007)

The feminine form of Antonia, currently does not rank in the U.S. top 1000, she is currently the 5th most popular female name in Chile-2008.

In the Netherlands, its diminutive form of Teun is currently the 36th most popular male name (2008).

Other forms of Anthony include:

  • Antón (Aragonese)
  • Antoniu (Asturian/Romanian/Sicilian)
  • Andoni (Basque)
  • Antolin (Basque)
  • Antton (Basque)
  • Anteng (Bavarian)
  • Dane (Bavarian: not to be confused with the English name Dane, this is pronounced: DAH-neh)
  • Anton Антон ანტონ(Breton/Bulgarian/Dutch/Estonian/Georgian/German/Maltese/Romanian/Russian/Scandinavian/Slovene/Ukrainian)
  • Antoun (Breton)
  • Andon Андон (Bulgarian/Albanian)
  • Antonij Антоний (Bulgarian)
  • Antoni (Catalan/Polish/Romansch: in Catalan, Tonet is the diminutive form. In Polish, the pet form is Antek)
  • Antone (Corsican: Antó is the diminutive form)
  • Ante/Anto (Croatian)
  • Antun (Croatian)
  • Antonín (Czech)
  • Anthonie/Antonie (Dutch)
  • Antheunis/Anthonis (Dutch)
  • Antonius (Dutch/Latin)
  • Antoon (Dutch)
  • Teun (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name).
  • Teunis/Theunis (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Ton (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Anteneh (Est0nian)
  • Tõnis (Estonian: originally a diminutive form, also used as an independent given name)
  • Anttoni (Finnish)
  • Antoine (French)
  • Antonin (French/Romansch)
  • Tinus (Frisian)
  • Antain/Antaine/Antoin/Antóin (Gaelic-Irish)
  • Antônios Αντώνιος/Antónis Αντώνης (Greek: modern)
  • Akoni/Anakoni (Hawaiian)
  • Antal (Hungarian)
  • Antoníus (Icelandic)
  • Totono (Indonesian)
  • Antonello (Italian)
  • Antonetto/Antonietto (Italian: obscure archaic diminutive form that was used as an independent given name)
  • Antoniano (Italian)
  • Antonico (Italian)
  • Antonillo (Italian)
  • Antonino (Italian: Nino is the common diminutive form)
  • Antoniuccio/Antonuccio (Italian: archaic form)
  • Antoniusso (Italian: archaic form)
  • Antuono (Italian: archaic, possibly a corruption of the French Antoine)
  • Antoninus (Latin)
  • Antons (Latvian)
  • Tun/Tunnes (Lexumburgish)
  • Antanas (Lithuanian: more common form)
  • Antonijus (Lithuanian)
  • Tonìn (Neopolitan)
  • Tonik (Norwegian: obscure form)
  • Titoan/Titouan (Occitanian/Provençal)
  • Tönnies, Tüns (Plattdeutsch)
  • Antoniusz (Polish: obscure form)
  • António (Portuguese: European)
  • Antônio (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Tonnies/Tünnes (Ripoarisch)
  • Antieni (Romansch)
  • Antòni (Sardinian/Occitanian: diminutive form is Tottoi)
  • Antonije Антоније (Serbian)
  • ‘Ntonio (Sicilian)
  • Antonio (Spanish/Italian: Toño and Tonito are the Spanish diminutive forms)
  • Done (Swabian)
  • Antümi (Turkish)
  • Antonij Антоній (Ukrainian)

Various feminine forms include:

  • Antònia (Catalan)
  • Antonieta (Catalan)
  • Antonija Антонија (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Antonína (Czech/Slovak)
  • Antonie (Czech: ahn-TONE-yeh)
  • Antonia (Dutch/Italian/Polish/Romansch/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Tonneke (Dutch)
  • Antonie (French)
  • Antonine/Tonine (French: Tonine was originally a diminutive form and is now occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Antoinette (French/Dutch)
  • Toinette (French: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Toinon (French: originally a diminutive form, occasionally used as a diminutive form)
  • Antía (Galician)
  • Antonella (Italian)
  • Antonetta/Antonietta (Italian)
  • Antonica (Italian)
  • Antonilla (Italian)
  • Antonina Антонина (Italian/Polish/Russian: Tosia is the Polish diminutive form and Nina is the Italian diminutive form)
  • Antonita (Italian/Spanish: originally a pet form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Titoana/Titouane (Occitanian/Gascon/Provençal)
  • Antónia (Portuguese/Bearnais/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Tonia (Romansch)
  • Tonka (Slovene: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)

A common English diminutive form for both the masculine and the feminine is Tony, in French, common diminutive forms are Toine, Toinou and Togne, for males.

Italian feminine diminutive forms are: Tonia, Tonina, Tona, NinaNinetta and Ninuccia. Italian masculine diminutives are: Tonio, Tonello, Tonino, Tonuccio, Nino, Ninuccio, Totò, Toni and Tony.

Italian combined forms are Antonmaria, Antoniomaria and Antonangelo.

Michael

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “who is like God?”
Eng (MI-kel)

One of the most prevalent male names in the Western World, and to a certain extent, the Middle Eastern world, the name is derived from a rhetorical Hebrew question מִיכָאֵל (Mikha’el) meaning “who is like God?” or “who is like El” the answer being that no one is like God.

This is in reference to the legend of when one of God’s most powerful angels, (Lucifer depending on the theological tradition), became so arrogant and prideful that he built an army of angels in order to overthrow the throne of God, thinking that he himself could be like God, Michael is believed to have smite the fallen angel, asking him the question “who is like God?” after casting him out of the gates of heaven.

According Mormon saint theology, “who is like God?” refers to the idea that Michael was Adam before he was created by God in human form. The meaning of the name explains that all humans are created in God’s image.

Michael is believed to be a powerful angel in Islamic, Christian and Jewish tradition. He appears several times in the Bible, being mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelations. He even appears in the apocryphal Book of Enoch.

In Roman Catholicism, Michael is referred to as St. Michael the Archangel and is considered a powerful saint, especially powerful against demonic attacks and is the patron saint of chivalry, the warrior, police officers, paratroopers, firefighters, soldiers and fighter pilots. Among German Catholics, he is the patron saint of Germany, and in Belgium, he considered the patron saint of Brussels.

In the Eastern Christian tradition, is known as Taxiarch Archangel Michael or simply as Archangel Michael.

In Jewish tradition, Michael is the protector and heavenly warrior of Israel and the advocate of the Jews.

In Islam, he is mentioned in the Qu’ran once, in Sura 2:98 and that Michael was a good angel who stood on the left hand of God (Allah’s) throne.

The archangel is also important in the Bahai faith and the New Age religions.

He plays a role in John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost.

There is no reason to explain why Michael is so popular, especially in the U.S. As of 2008, Michael was the 2nd most popular male name. He was moved down from the 1st position down to the 2nd position back in 1999, when he was overthrown by Jacob.

Between the years 1954 and 1999, Michael was the most popular male name. The lowest that Michael ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1892 when he came in as the 59th most popular male name in the United States. In other countries, Michael’s rankings are as follows:

  • # 36 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 36 (Canada, B.C. 2008)
  • # 4 (Denmark, 2009)
  • # 52 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 10 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 239 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 33 (Scotland, 2008)

The Michael form is also used in Afrikaans, Danish, Czech, German and Ripoarisch.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Mëhill/Mhill (Albanian)
  • Mighel (Amazigh/Moroccan)
  • Mikhael/Mikail ميخائيل‎, (Arabic/Coptic)
  • Miguel (Aragonese/Galician/Portuguese/Spanish: mee-GEL)
  • Mikael Միքաել (Armenian)
  • Micael (Asturian)
  • Mikayıl (Azeri)
  • Mikel (Basque)
  • Mitxel (Basque)
  • Miquèu (Bearnais/Occitanian/Gascon/Provençal)
  • Mickaël (Breton)
  • Mikael (Breton/Finnish/Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish: a Finnish diminutive form is Mika)
  • Mihail Михаил (Bulgarian/Russian: Misha is the most common diminutive form)
  • Michjeli (Calabrian: Chjeli is the diminutive mee-KYAY-lee)
  • Miquel (Catalan: mee-KEL. Quelo is a common diminutive form)
  • Myghal (Cornish)
  • Michal (Czech/Slovak: mee-HAHL: 15th most popular male name in the Czech Republic-2007)
  • Mihajlo/Mihovil (Croatian: diminutive form is Miho)
  • Mihail Михаил (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Mikkel (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: 6oth most popular male name in Norway-2007)
  • Maikel (Dutch: MY-kel)
  • Michaël (Dutch/Frisian: mee-kah-EL)
  • Michiel (Dutch: 307th most popular male name in the Netherlands-2008)
  • Miikael/Mikhel (Estonian)
  • Mikko (Finnish)
  • Michel (French: MEE-shel)
  • Michêl (Fruilian)
  • Mícheál (Gaelic-Irish)
  • Mìcheal (Gaelic-Scotch)
  • Micheil (Gaelic-Scotch)
  • Mikheil მიხეილი (Georgian)
  • Mikhael/Mikhalis Μιχάλης/Μιχαήλ (Greek: Μίκης (Mikis) is the common pet form))
  • Mikala (Hawaiian)
  • Micha’el מִיכָאֵל‎, (Hebrew)
  • Mihály (Hungarian: 60th most popular male name in Hungary-2008. Misi and Miska are the most common pet forms. MEE-hie)
  • Mikhael (Indonesian)
  • Michea (Italian: obscure/archaic mee-KAY-ah)
  • Michele (Italian: mee-KAY-lay)
  • Michelino (Italian: obscure)
  • Miķelis/Mihails (Latvian)
  • Mykolas (Lithuanian)
  • Mikail (Malayalam)
  • Mikiel (Maltese)
  • Mikaere (Maori)
  • Migueltzin (Nahuatl)
  • Michè (Neopolitan)
  • Miché/Michi (Norman)
  • Miqueu (Occitanian)
  • Mikhailu Мїхаилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Michał (Polish/Sorbian: mee-HOW)
  • Mihai/Mihail (Romanian: diminutive form is Mihaita)
  • Micheli/Mikelli/Migali (Sardinian)
  • Mihailo Михаило (Serbian)
  • Miceli (Sicilian: Celi is a diminutive form. mee-KAY-lee)
  • Miha (Slovene: originally a diminutive form of Mihael, now used exclusively as an independent given name, it was the 11th most popular male name in Slovenia-2005)
  • Mihael (Slovene: 86th most popular male name in Slovenia-2005)
  • Mikâil (Turkish)
  • Mikhailo/Mykhailo Михайло (Ukrainian)
  • Michełe (Venetian)
  • Meical (Welsh)

English diminutive forms are: Mick, Micky, Mike and Mikey. German diminutive forms are Maik (pronounced like Mike), Maiki, Michi and Micki. A Swiss-German dialectical diminutive is is Michu (Bern)

There are also forms that mean “Michael Archangel” and are used in reference to the angel. These are:

  • Michelangelo (Italian)
  • Michelarcangelo (Italian)
  • Michelangiolo (Romansch)
  • Mihangel (Welsh)

Michelangela is an Italian feminine form.

An Italian smush is Michelantonio.

The feminine form of Michelle (an English corruption of the French feminine form Michèle), has been used in the English speaking world since the early 20th-century.

It currently ranks in as the 103rd most popular female name, and the highest it peaked was # 2, in the years 1968, ’69 and again in ’71, ’72.

Its Latinate feminine form has recently sparked in popularity as well (see Michaela for more details)

Other feminine forms include:

  • Micaela (Asturian)
  • Mikelle (Basque)
  • Miquèla (Bearnais)
  • Mikaela (Breton)
  • Miquela (Catalan/Occitanian/Gascon/Provençal)
  • Michelle (English/German: a phonetic corruption of the French Michèle)
  • Michèle (French)
  • Michéline (French: mee-shay-LEEN)
  • Michaelina/Michaeline (Irish: an Irish corruption of the French Micheline and the Italian, Michelina, common diminutive form is Micki/Micky. MY-keh-LEEN-ah; MY-keh-LEEN)
  • Michela (Italian: mee-KAY-lah)
  • Michelina (Italian: mee-kay-LEE-nah)
  • Michalina (Polish: mee-ha-LEE-nah: Michalinka and Misia are the diminutive forms)
  • Miguela (Spanish)
  • Miguelina (Spanish)

The designated name-day for Michael is September 29.