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A religious name is a type of given name bestowed for a religious purposes, and which is generally used in such contexts.


In many Christian traditions, those who receive the sacrament of baptism are given a Christian name by which they become known.

Catholic Church

Baptismal name

In baptism, Catholics are given a Christian name,[1] which should not be "foreign to Christian sentiment"[2] and is often the name of a saint.[3] In East Asia, in Africa and elsewhere, the baptismal name is distinct from the traditional-style given name.

Traditionally, Orthodox and Catholic Christians celebrate their name day (i.e., the feast day of their patron saint), rather than their birthday.

Confirmation name

In some countries, it is common to adopt a confirmation name, always the name of a saint, in addition to the baptismal name. The saint whose name is taken is henceforth considered to be a patron saint.

Religious name

In general, religious names are used among the persons of the consecrated life. In most religious institutes, a new member is traditionally either given a religious name or chooses one. This could be either the name of a beatified or a venerable of the church, an honorific title of the Virgin Mary, or even a virtue or something similar. Apart from that, it is possible to keep the baptismal name as a religious name, too. The name is taken usually either upon investiture or on the occasion of taking the first vows, in some communities prior to the entry of a new postulant.

Papal name

A newly elected pope traditionally takes on a new name, called his regnal name or papal name.

Lutheran Church

In the Lutheran Churches, those who receive the sacrament of baptism are given a Christian name.[4]

Eastern Church

Baptismal name

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism, converts often take a new name at the time of their reception into the church. 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.

Monastic name

Orthodox and Eastern catholic monks and nuns are often given a new monastic name at the time of their investiture.


Converts to Judaism take a Hebrew name upon conversion. Born Jews generally have a patronymic Hebrew name which is used for religious purposes; this is frequently different from their legal name, especially when the latter is of gentile or non-Hebrew origin.


In Mandaeism, a baptismal (zodiacal) or masbuta name, also known as malwasha, is a name given by a priest, as opposed to a legal name.[5]: 81  Mandaeans have matronymic Mandaean names which are used in Mandaean rituals.[5] A malwasha is linked with the mother's name and time of birth in order to protect the individual from their zodiac sign which is considered ominous.[5]: 81 


Main article: Dharma name

All Buddhist denominations also practice this, with newly ordained Sangha members given new Buddhist names by their master or preceptors. Lay Buddhists (Upāsaka and Upāsikā) are also given Buddhist names during their Tisarana ceremony.


All Taoist sects have similar practice like Chinese Buddhism, where all newly ordained Taoist priests or monks are given Taoist name related on their sect's lineage. Lay Taoists who participate in the initiation ceremony are also given a Taoist name.


Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Members of ISKCON and some other Gaudiya Vaishnava organisations are given a "spiritual name" by their guru upon initiation. This name ends in "Das" or "Dasa" for men and "Dasi" for women (meaning "servant").


In Wicca, a craft name is often used.


  1. ^ Thurston, Herbert (1911), Christian Names, New York: Robert Appleton Company, retrieved May 30, 2012
  2. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 2156
  3. ^ Catholic Activity: Baptismal Names
  4. ^ Saarelma-Maunumaa, Minna (12 March 2018). Edhina Ekogidho - Names as Links: The Encounter between African and European Anthroponymic Systems among the Ambo People in Namibia. Finnish Literature Society. p. 158. ISBN 978-951-746-529-8.
  5. ^ a b c Drower, Ethel Stefana. The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran. Oxford At The Clarendon Press, 1937.