Naming Convention, Traditions - Wednesday, May 16, 2007 13:57 - 122 Comments
A syrian christian takes his own name which is the name of his paternal grandfather, the name of his father and his house or ‘tharavad’ name.
He may make any of these his surname and hence he may be G.J. Olikara, ‘G’ for Gevarghese (name of paternal grandfather), ‘J’ for John(name of father) and ‘Olikara’ for name of his ancestral house from where the line of his paternal family descends. He may be the son of O.G. John, ‘O’ for Olikara(name of the house), ‘G’ for Gevarghese (name of father) and ’J’ for John(name of paternal grandfather).
It was customary that the eldest son be given the name of his paternal grandfather and the eldest daughter the name of her maternal grandmother. The second son bears the name of his maternal grandfather and the second daughter bears the name of her maternal grandmother.
This naming convention is also seen among the Sephardic Jews, whose customs may have been imbibed by the Syrian Christians in kerala.
As a general rule, the Syrian Christians bear names which are biblical. It is interesting to record that despite Decree XVI of the Synod of Diamper of 1599, which forbade the use of old testament names, for 400 years after this date the Syrian Christians still continued using such names, though through usage they became Indianised.
Some common Syrian Christian names are:
For Men: (Thomma, Thoman, Mamman, Oommen) from Thomas, (Chacko, Yakob) from Jacob, (Pathros, Pathe, Pathappan) from Peter, (Yohannan, Lonan, Ninan) from John, (Mathai, Mathan, Mathu, Mathulla) from Mathew, (Yesoph, Ouseph, Outha, Ipe) from Joseph, (Koshy, Easo) from Joshua, (Abragam, Avraham, Avrachan, Itty) from Abraham, (Ittack) from Isaac, (Lukose) from Luke, (Philipose, Pothan, Pothen, Poonen) from Philip, (Paulose, Piley) from Paul, (Chandy, Chandi, Idichandy) from Alexander, (Iyob, Iyoben, Eapen) from Job, (Cheriyan, Kurien, Kuriakose) from Zachariah, (Verghese, Vargisa, Varkey, Varied, Geverghese) from George, (Kuruvilla) from Korah.
For Women: (Mariam, Maria, Mariamma) from Mary, (Akka, Rabka, Raca, Akkamma) from Rebecca, (Rahel, Rahelamma) from Rachel, (Susanna, Sosa, Sosamma, Achi, Achamma) from Susan, (Saramma) from Sara, (Elspeth, Elisa, Elia, Elacha, Eliamma) from Elizabeth.
This ‘nativising’ of root Greek, Latin and Hebrew names can be seen in all the ancient chrurches like the Ethiopian, Slavic as well as the Armenian ones. Continue…
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