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Religious name

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A religious name is a type of given name bestowed for a religious purpose, and which is generally used in religious contexts. Different types of religious names may be in use among the clergy of a religion, as well in some cases among the laity.

In some religious orders, a new member will often take a religious name after joining the order. This is often practiced in the Order of Saint Benedict. Japanese Catholics have a long-cherished tradition of adopting a Western name as a "Baptismal name" in addition to their actual first name.

In some countries, it is common for members of the laity to adopt a confirmation name, in addition to their baptismal name. A newly elected Pope also takes on a new name, called his regnal name.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church converts often take a new name at the time of their reception into the church, either by baptism or chrismation. A person's religious name is always the name of a saint, who then becomes that person's patron. When deciding on a name for their child, Orthodox parents will often name the child after a saint whose feast day falls on either the day of the child's birth or the day of its baptism. Traditionally, Orthodox Christians celebrate their "name day" (i.e., the feast day of their patron saint), rather than their birthday. Orthodox monks and nuns are often given a new monastic name at the time of their tonsure (i.e., when they take their monastic vows). A monastic name is usually the name of a prophet or a monastic saint.

Jews who have non-Jewish legal names often have a patronymic Hebrew name which is used for religious purposes.

Members of ISKCON are given a "spiritual name" by their guru upon initiation. This name ends in "Dasa" for men and "Dasi" for women (meaning "servant"), and generally begins with the same letter as the devotee's given name.

Many Buddhist sects also practice this, with newly ordained sangha often given new names by their master. Lay Buddhists are also given Dharma names during their refuge ceremony.

It is usual for a Discordian episkopos to adopt a faux-mystical and bizarre name for the duration of the episkoposity; such names are not immutable and are frequently adapted over time.


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