Tuesday, November 1

Well-Named Saints

Think of Apollonia in the dentist's chair

Happy All Saint's Day, whatever that means. 

Here are some saint names that stood out from that long list of freaky hermits, vestal virgins and miracle-working martyrs.

Apollonia — virgin martyr Apollonia was tortured by having all her teeth pulled out. Cue the unstoppable nightmares! Her name is derived from the name of Greek god Apollo. Did you know that the island of Mauritius was originally named Santa Apolonia by Portugese navigators? So much more evocative. Feast day: February 9th

Judoc — Judoc (which means "lord") is the Breton form of the medieval masculine name Josse, which is where the name Joyce comes from. I've heard Jude used quite a bit, and parents looking for a long form that isn't Judah or Judas might find something interesting in Judoc. Saint Judoc went by Josse as well, and variations on his name (Joos, Joost, Jocelyn) became quite popular. Feast day: December 13th

Malo — also known as Maclou or Mac'h Low, Malo was a 6th-century saint, and one of the seven founding saints of Brittany, France. He was probably born in Wales and his name may come from Old Breton mac'h, meaning "warrant," and low, "meaning "light." He is the patron saint of pig-keepers, naturally. Feast day: November 15th

Philothei — I assumed Philothei was a male, so imagine my naming delight when I discovered she was, in fact, a woman. Born in Athens to a wealthy family, she was married off to a horrible guy, and after his death she gave away her worldly belongings and founded a convent that took in women who escaped from harems. She is considered a patron saint of the city of Athens. Feast day: February 19th

Swithun — Saint Swithun was a 9th-century bishop of Winchester. His name means "strong" and is also written as Swithin, a spelling I personally prefer. Lore says that if it rains on Saint Swithun's day, it will rain for forty more days. He is generally depicted with broken eggs at his feet, a detail I find perfectly charming. Feast day: July 15th 


  1. I really like the name Malo, and I visited St. Malo in France quite frequently as a small child. He's not dissimilar to the emerging name Arlo.

  2. Big fan of Judoc - with Jude being so popular, Judoc could get a foot in the door, maybe.

    Have seen several bloggers suggest Apollonia with nickname Apple.


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