Photine, Fotini


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “light.”
Φωτινη
(foh-TEEN; foh-TEE-nee)

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.

6 thoughts on “Photine, Fotini

  1. I would like to add the diminutives Toula and Fotoula. The main character’s name in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is Toula, which is short for Fotoula. She states in the movie that her name means “light of God”.

    Also, let me just say I love your blog! I’m glad to see there are other people out there that care about real names that have a history behind them.

  2. Hi! Great site!

    I’d like to mention that the name Fotini doesn’t only originate from the saint, but also comes from the Divine Enlightenment, thus the meaning light.

    If one is named Fotini after the Divine Enlightenment, the designated name day is January 6, the same day as the Epiphany (a Christian holiday celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus). If one is named after the saint, then the name day would be on February 26.

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