Monk/Bishop Names

As we all know, when someone becomes a monk, they change their name. This new name usually sticks with them for the rest of their life. However, in the case of Saint Cyril VI, he was called Abouna Mina before his papacy. Pope Shenouda III was called Abouna Antonios before his episcopacy. But Pope Tawadros II kept his monastic name. Why do some change their names when they become bishops?

PS: I am absolutely not trying to bash anyone or anything, I’m just confused on the naming rules.


  • There is a difference in those 3 cases you mentioned. Pope Cyril VI was a monk and became a pope right away, and his name was changed. Pope Shenouda was a monk, became a general bishop with a name change, but no name change when he became a pope. And that is the same with Pope Tawadros whose name was Theodore as a monk. So it sounds like there would most likely be a name change when you go from one major rank to the other.
  • But back then no one changed their names?...
    They could have even even kept their birth names as their monastic name, Priesthood name, Etc...!
  • But Azer changed his name to Abouna Mina (future Saint Cyril VI) and Nazir Gayed changed his name to Abouna Antonios (future Bishop, then Pope Shenouda)
  • That is in recent times...
  • edited August 2019
    Pope Kyrillos IV didn't become Pope, "right away." He became a monk in 1928 and didn't become Pope until 1959! He also was also never a Bishop. Pope Yousab (Joseph II) was desposed of his power in 1956 for corruption. They found Father Mina to be a humble, meek and selfless man. He was not a fan of being praised for all he had done. He was the perfect candidate to bring the church back to Her traditions after some poor leadership. He actually refused to become a Bishop and was even against being in any leadership position because of his meekness.

    A monk is not automatically a Priest, or even a Deacon. When they become a Monastic, their name is almost always exclusively decided by the Bishop, and dependent on the Bishop, will either be one chosen by him or the nominee.

    Father Mauritius, a popular Australian monk, has served at our Monastery before the recent monastic issues. I asked him how he got his name. He said, "The Bishop asked me if there was any name I wanted. I said I had an uncle named Maurice." Pope Shenouda said, "I'll use Mauritius because it sounds more Latin."

    So, as you can see there aren't any specific guidelines for all names. It's really up to the Bishop. Great question, though. Also, Priests legally change their first names which is probably confusing for parents and siblings!
  • So clergy are free to change their names when they move up the ranks?

    Also, do they choose or is it chosen from the saint of the day or some other source?
  • edited August 2019
    Wrong comment..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
Sign In or Register to comment.