Séraphin, Séraphine, Serafina

Seraphim_-_Petites_Heures_de_Jean_de_BerryOrigin: Hebrew
Meaning: “burning ones.”

In the Old Testament, the seraphim (plural for seraph) were a class of celestial beings, in Isaiah they are mentioned as having human forms and in Christian tradition, the seraphim are thought of as the highest ranking group of angels. The word itself is a latinization of the Hebrew word serap meaning “to burn” a word also used to describe the venom of snakes e.g. Isaiah 30:6, the word is used interchangeably with the Hebrew word nachash meaning “serpents.” In Isaiah 6:1-3, the seraphim are described as follows:

“…I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne with the train of His garment filling the temple seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft.” ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts’ they cried one to the other. ‘All earth is filled with His glory!'”

This is the sole use of the word seraphim to describe angelic beings in the canonic Hebrew Bible. In the Book of Enoch, however, the word seraphim appears several times in which they are described as standing closest to the throne of God.

According to Maimonides, a medieval Jewish Rabbi and Scholar, the seraphim are the fifth rank of the ten ranks of angels and the seraphim are apart of the angelarchy of Orthodox Judaism, they are referred to in the Kedushah.

In Christian theology, the seraphim are the highest ranking choir of angels, they are mentioned in Revelations 6-8, they are believed to be the attendants of God’s throne, they are mentioned numerous times by St. Thomas Aquinas and several other famous Christian theologians.

Its feminine form of Serafina, was very popular in medieval Italy, it was borne by a Christian saint, whose cult is paticularly popular in Tuscany. Also known as St. Fina (1238-1253) she was the daughter of a local nobleman by the name of Cambio dei Ciardi. She was paralysed from tuberculosis at a very young age, and suffered miserably on an oak table she used as a bed (of her own volition),


she died at the age of 15. Many miracles and legends are attributed to her, and in the town of San Gimignano where she was born and is buried, a festival is held in her honour on March 12. It is borne by another Italian saint Serafina Sforza  (borne Sveva da Montefeltro) 1434-1478 an Italian noblewoman who chose to live the life of a poor clare after the death of her husband.

Serafina Pekkala is a fictional character in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials triology, the famed Golden Compass and the Amber Spyglass are two notable books of the series. Serafina Ouistit is the pseudonym of Dutch musician and artist Bloem de Wilde de Ligny.

Recently, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner named their second daughter Seraphina Rose Elizabeth.

Séraphine is the French feminine counterpart and Séraphin the masculine form. It was borne by Séraphine de Selis Louis a famous French painter (1864-1942). It is also the name of a musical wind instrument. On its masculine front, the name is borne by an Italian saint Serafino de Montegranaro (1540-1604), he was known for his dedication in comforting the poor. Sanctus Seraphin1699-1758 (aka Santo Serafino) was a famous violin maker, it was also borne by Kenyan olympic runner Seraphino Antao (b. 1937) of Goan parents.

Serafim_and_a_bearIt was also borne by a Russian saint Serafim of Sarov (1759-1833) known as one of the first Starsys (Elders) and greatest starsys of the 19th-century.

Serafin is the name of a village in east-central Poland.

Other masculine forms of the name include: (alphabetical by nationality)

  • Séraphin (French)
  • Serafeim (Greek)
  • Serafino (Italian)
  • Seraphinus (Late Latin)
  • Serapinas (Lithuanian)
  • Serafin (Polish/Romansch/Serbo-Croatian)
  • Serafim (Russian/Romanian)
  • Serafín (Spanish)

Feminine forms include:

  • Séraphine (French)
  • Serafina (Italian/Romanian/Spanish/Polish/Serbo-Croatian)
  • Fina (Italian: often used as an independent given name)
  • Serapina (Lithuanian)
  • Serafima (Russian/Romanian)
  • Serafia (Swedish: archaic)
  • The designated name-day in Western European calenders is October 12.

    6 thoughts on “Séraphin, Séraphine, Serafina

    1. I adore this name, for the sound and femininity, but most importantly for the meaning… I collect names with a fiery meaning and Seraphine is my absolute favourite… ^^ Not too keen on Seraphina, it’s a bit too much on the frilly side for my tastes ^^

    2. The form Serafia was used in Sweden around the turn of the century, but is now (unfortunately) very rare.

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