The name is derived from the Greek φως (phos) meaning “light.”
The name is borne by a Christian saint, considered very important to the Greek Orthodox Church.
St. Photine the Samaritan woman, has been honoured as an Equal-to-the-Apostles.
A legend, which was based on the story in the New Testament when Christ met the woman at the Well, was that the woman at the well was named Photine and that, after repenting of her sins, she went on to evangelize Carthage, only to be martyred under Nero’s reign.
She had 4 sisters who were venerated as saints, one of whom was named Fotis and who shares the same name-day as her, and her son Photinos, who also shares a name-day with her.
Fotoula and Toula are modern Greek diminutives.
Another form is Fotine, and a Polish form is Fotyna.
In Russian she is referred to as St. Svetlana, (which is a literal translation of the name Photine).
The designated name-day is January 5.