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Greek Name Set to Be Top Choice for UK Baby Girls in 2024

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The name Anastasia originated during the early days of Christianity and was given to many Greek girls born around Easter. Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

A centuries-old Greek name will be in the top 10 list of the UK’s most popular baby names for 2024, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.

The name is Anastasia, meaning ‘resurrection,’ derives from the masculine Greek name Anastasios. Due to its faith-adjacent meaning, it suits a baby born around Easter.

The name Anastasia originated during the early days of Christianity and was given to many Greek girls born around Easter. It was established as the female form (Greek: Ἀναστασία) of the male name Anastasios (Greek: Ἀναστάσιος) and has the meaning of “she/he of the resurrection”.

The Greek name of early saints

It is the name of several early saints,. including Anastasios of Persia, a Zoroastrian soldier in the Sasanian army who later became a convert to Christianity and was martyred in 628. His feast day in the Greek Orthodox tradition is January 22nd.

Anastasios was a cavalryman and participated in the capture of the True Cross in Jerusalem, which was carried to the Sasanian capital Ctesiphon.

The occasion prompted him to ask for information about the Christian religion. He then experienced a conversion of faith, left the army, became a Christian, and afterward a monk at the monastery of Saint Savvas in Jerusalem. He was baptized, receiving the Christian name Anastasios to honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ (“Anástasis” in Greek).

After seven years of monastic observance, he was moved by the Holy Ghost to go in quest of martyrdom and went to Caesarea, then subject to the Sasanians. There he interrupted and ridiculed the Zoroastrian priests for their religion and was, as a result, arrested, taken prisoner, and cruelly tortured to force him to abjure.

Finally, after refusing to do so, with seventy others, he was strangled to death and decapitated on January 22, 628.

Most Anastasios or Anastasia celebrate name day on Easter

However, most Greeks named Anastasios or Anastasia celebrate their name day on Easter, when the resurrection of Christ took place.

Other saints include Anastasia of Sirmium, a central saint from the 3rd century who is commemorated during the first mass on Christmas Dawn each year according to the traditional calendar of the Catholic Church and on December 22nd, according to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Anastasia is a very popular name for girls, especially in Europe, where most names have Christian associations.

Anastasia was the most popular name for girls for many years in Russia until 2008, when it was surpassed by the name Sophia. It remains one of the top ten names for Russian girls and girls in Belarus, Moldova, Serbia, Georgia, and Montenegro.

The most famous Anastasia was Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia. It is this story that inspired the eponymous Disney film. We also can’t forget the pop icon Anastacia, who sang the hit “I’m Outta Love.”

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