What’s in a name? Celebration!

name day apostle philip

Nice grapes!

On 14th. November, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the day of the Apostle Philip.

So I got myself a Name Day!

One of the delightful traditions here is that, whether one is religious or not, one celebrates friend and family Name Days (Имен ден).

It’s a day for the recipient to receive good wishes for health, happiness, wealth, good fortune, and so on. A lovely social occasion.

So, my profound thanks to all those, friends and family, who sent me messages today – on Facebook, email, SMS, by phone. Most heart-warming, thank you.

I checked out some basic information about Philip the Apostle. It’s a Greek name – Φίλιππος, Philippos – meaning ‘lover of horses’ – well, OK, fine by me.

Philip was the fifth disciple recruited by Jesus, according to the Bible. Unlike some of the other disciples, he was not a fisherman, but a bit of a scholar who was on the search for an unidentified “Messiah”.

Following the Crucifixion, he preached across Asia Minor – Galilee, Greece, Syria, into Ethiopia. On his travels, he was reputed to have performed miracles, including bringing people back from the dead.

He met his end as a martyr, in Hierapolis, a Greco-Roman city near present-day Parmukkale, in Turkey’s Anatolia. He was, according to different sources, either beheaded or crucified upside-down.

Interesting that the Cross of St. Philip, or Petrine Cross, an official Christian symbol, is therefore an inverted Latin cross.

Anyway, a lovely day – and thanks, once again, to everyone who communicated. I look forward, ironically, to my other Bulgarian name day. I say “ironically”, because my Bulgarian wife has such an unusual (though traditional) name, that she doesn’t even get her own Name Day, at all!

PS: I hope there’s a huge party going on tonight in the city of Plovdiv, former name Philippopolis, named after Philip II of Macedon – father of Alexander the Great. (NO, my name doesn’t make me a Macedonian!)

Image: Holy-Icons

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