Posts Tagged With: Clément

Papal Names

Pope Benedict XVI, from themoderatevoice.com

Pope Benedict XVI, from themoderatevoice.com

Yesterday the current Pope, Benedict XV, announced his resignation in a move that shocked many. Why so? Because he’s the first pope in about 600 years to make such a move: saying that he no longer has the ‘strength of mind and body’ needed to carry on his duties (he was the oldest man to become pope since Clement XII in the 18th century).

It’s fun to note that Benedict XVI is currently 85, being born in April 1927, whilst the Queen happens to be almost a year older than him, being born in the previous April.

But that’s an aside, because what I really want to talk about is papal names. You see, Benedict XVI wasn’t always called Benedict – indeed, he’s only gone by the name Benedict for just under 8 years, being previously known by the name Josef.

The reason? Upon accession to the papacy it has become a custom to take a papal name, with every pope since the 16th century doing so.

It hasn’t always been that way, though. Back in the early days of the Church, the bishops of Rome simply continued to use their birth names after their election. The custom of changing one’s name came circa 500 AD with the election of Pope John II, who was born with the name Mercurius. He deemed that being named after the Roman god Mercury would be a tad bit inappropriate, thus he took the name John as his papal name.

To this day, the last pope to use his birth name as pope was Marcellus II back in the 16th century.

What guides the choice of papal name is purely down to the new pope himself, and in times gone by popes have chosen names inspired by predecessors, mentors or even family members.

A notable example of this is John Paul II, who took the name of his two most immediate predecessors (John XXIII and Paul VI, respectively) as his papal name. His successor, John Paul II, chose his papal name for him, as he wished to continue the work of his predecessor who died only 33 days into his papacy.

John Paul I is also notable for being the first to be known by a double name, and he also has the distinction of being the first pope to use a ‘new’ name not previously used before since Pope Lando back in the 10th century.

So that’s the tale behind the papal names, but which names are most popularly used? It’s an interesting Top 10:

1. John

2. Gregory

3. Benedict

4. Clement

5. Innocent

6. Leo

7. Pius

8. Stephen

9. Boniface

10. Urban

Categories: Papal Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Les Choristes

Snapshot from the film Les Choristes. Mathieu is conducting, with Pépinot sitting on the desk behind him, from grouchoreviews.com

Les Choristes is a modern classic film from France, released in 2004, depicting the tale of a problem-child all-male boarding school. It’s an adaptation of the film A Cage of Nightingales (La Cage aux Rossignols) from 1945.

The basis of the story is that the widely successful orchestra conductor Pierre Morhange returns to France when his mother dies. With his old friend Pépinot, he reminiscences about his childhood inspirations through the pages of a diary kept by his old music teacher Clément Mathieu.  The film travels back to 1949, when a young Pierre is the badly behaved son of a single mother. He attends a boarding school Fond de L’Etang (roughly translates to rock bottom), which is for difficult boys. The new teacher, Mathieu, decides to assemble a choir, which leads to the discovery of Pierre’s musical talents and a transformation in the boys behaviours.

There are so many lovely names associated with this film, despite many of the characters only being known by their surnames. Starting off with the music teacher, his name was Clément Mathieu. Both names have been used as first names, and I do believe that both names are also relatively popular in France at the moment.

The name Clément comes from the Late Latin name Clemens, which meant merciful or gentle. As for Mathieu, he’s the French form of the name Matthew, a name that means gift of God.

Another name from the teaching staff was Rachin, the name of the strict headmaster. Strictly speaking, it’s his surname, but there are plenty of surnames used in the film which have potential: Boniface, Pépinot and Corbin. My favourite character was Pépinot – the t is silent – who was the youngest boy at the school. He would wait by the gates every Saturday for his father, but his father would never turn up. Near the end of the film Mathieu is fired and when he leaves Pépinot runs after him and asks to go with him. Eventually Mathieu relents, and the two board a bus together. The touching part? This all happened on a Saturday.

As for Pierre, his mother was called Violette. And she’s not the only Violette associated with the film, and actress named Violette played one of Rachin’s daughters. His second daughter was played by a Lena, and his wife was played by a Marielle.

Other names of actors from the film:

Armen

People from Armenia are known as Armens, thus some have suggested that this name means son of Armenia. Taking this further, the name Armenia has been theorised to have derived from the name Aram, which means excellence in it’s Armenian capacity. The exact origins of the name Armenia makes this only one of many theories, however.

Didier

I know of two brothers named Didier and Dieudonne. The name Didier is the French form of the name Desiderio, which means longing, desire.

Fabrice

This name derives from the Latin word faber, which means craftsman. It is worth noting that the name Brice is not related, it instead means speckled.

Simonet

The real surname of the lad who played Pépinot, who was credited as Maxence Perrin. His father, Jacques Perrin, played the adult Pierre in the film. Maxence’s brothers are called Mathieu and Lancelot and Maxence’s cousin, Christophe, directed the film.

Theodule

There is a Spanish name Téodule, which comes from the name Theodulus. It has the meaning of slave of God. Presumeably, therefore, Theodule is the French interpretation of the name.

Categories: French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Not too French

Christophe Maé, from christophe-mae.fr

We kicked the week off looking at a very modern sounding French sibset, so it seems fitting to return to the topic of French names to end the week. Not French words, just French names. Specifically French names that are not too French, like Thibault is. I love the name Thibault, but chances are that you haven’t a clue how to say him, and neither will the majority of the English-speaking population. He’s likely too French for those who don’t have a grasp of the language. If you’re still musing about how to say Thibault, it’s tee-bo.

At the other end of the spectrum is the second most popular girls name in England&Wales: Sophie – the French form of Sophia. And I recently met a Manon/Matisse sibset at a very British cricket club. Other French forms of popular English names include:

Alexandre

Ambre

Bastien (short form of Sébastien)

Christophe

Émilie

Guillaume

Mathieu

Mathilde

But it’s the middle ground of popularity we’re looking at. Something distinctly French. Like Clement. Meilleur Prénoms put him at #19 in 2009 for France. You may have heard Clementine mentioned more and more often, but it’s the masculine name which has really taken off in France of late. On the same list, Clemence ranked at #34 for girls.

Another male name example is Jules. The only Jules I know who aren’t Julians are French. French singer Christophe Maé and his partner Nadège welcomed a son named Jules in 2008. We seem to spell it differently here in Britain as British chef Jamie Oliver is married to a Juliette ‘Jools’ and we also have the widely popular Jools Holland here in Britain, who was born Julian Miles. Jools Miles sounds quintessentially jazz, doesn’t it?

The name Enzo is hugely popular in France, too. I’ve seen people call him the male equivalent of called your child Porsche. The name reportedly became popular in France following Zinedine Zidane using it for his son. Yes, the Zinedine Zidane who famously headbutted an Italian player in the 2006 World Cup final. Enzo is a somewhat controversial name in France, given that it’s Italian, not French. Moreover, the Italian short form of Vincenzo and Lorenzo. Enzo is a zippy little name, especially good if you think Ezra is going to the girls – a name Abby recently featured as a re-run.

Another zippy short name popular in Frenchy-land is Axel. To English ears, this may sound like a somewhat rugged name – and that may add to his charm for you. My other favourite French male name beginning with an A is Aurelian, and we can’t forget to mention Rémi. Yes, he has an accent but I’ve seen plenty parents forgoe this. Infact whilst on the subject of accents, I have a friend named Chloé because her Dad became mixed up when he went to register her – she should be a Chloë.

One of the more popular female names in France right now is Clara – currently at #201 in England&Wales, and not strictly a French name per se. A very French invention cooking up a storm in France is Lilou. Yes, I love Lilou, she’s like a Lily/Lucy smoosh that just seems to work. In a similar vein, the French also love Luna, or their slight variant spelling of Louna. They also recognise the rocking-awesomenous of Lou.

Romain and Romane are popular for boys and girls, respectively; Same goes for Leo and Leonie; Valentin and Valentine. Whilst we may consider Agatha still slightly aged for our babes, the French are embracing their version: Agathe. Another A name they love is Amandine: their version of the once popular name Amanda. There’s also Amine for the lads which has origins in Arabic, and means truthful. For me, I think of the organic compounds known as Amines, but that’s by-the-by. The French and Dutch variation of Anna is also popular: Anouk.

Finally, there’s the Mae– group of names to consider: Maëlys;Maëlle;Maeva;Maeline; Maelie. They all sound distinctly French, but the pronunciation may not come naturally to you. For Maëlys, it’s mah-el-EES; for Maëlle, it’s mah-el.

Categories: French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Crazy Brits

Let’s indulge ourselves with a litte name spotting in the London Birth Announcements, notable names are in bold, siblings in brackets:

Alexandra Charlotte Ozanne, (Isabelle)

Alice Dhanlaxmi

Amelia Jonquil Angharad

Amélie India Lucy, (William)

Beau Vivienne, (Ada Rose)

Celia Jane Vanessa, (Dougal)

Charlotte Carol Jane, (Oscar)

Darcey Carmen Rose, (Theo)

Ellen Andrea Maria

Florence Iona Emily Peel, (Isla and Willa)

Isla Aris

Henrietta Philippa Rose, (Annelies and Martha)

Iona Kathryn, (Imogen May)

Iris Arabella, (Katinka)

Isla Katherine

Isobelle Susannah

Jemima and Willa, twins

Katinka Alice Belsham, (Bella and Freddie)

Katinka Lily

Liberty Valentina Vaughan

Louisa Jane, Alistair

Mair ‘Polly’ Elisabeth Patricia, (Florence)

Marnie

Martha Maud, (Guy)

Martha Sophie Poppy, (Tilly and Olive)

Mary Beatrice Rose

Mary Constance, (Elsa and George)

Molly Elizabeth Sarah

Molly Juliet

Nancy Rebecca, (Lily)

Nancy Rose

Octavia, (Claudia)

Sadie Francesca

Soma Isis, (Seth and Saul)

Tessa Charlotte Jane, (Isabelle and Eliza)

Tessa Honor Bruce, (Tamsin and Jemima)

Willa Victoria Joanna Rees, (Hamish)

Zinnia Alice Victoria

Alasdair James Dudley

Alexander George Walter Halley, (Serena)

Archie Geoffrey

Arthur John Christopher, (Thady)

Caspar Anthony Wallace

Freddie Samuel, (Jack and Georgia)

George Alfred Beresford

George James Sherlock

George Raffles Tyndale

Griffyd Hunter Heber

Hector David

Henry Arthur Bromhead, (Jenkyn)

Henry Leonidas Tiberius, (Mark and Rupert)

James Luigi Wood, (Johnny)

Jasper Florian

Lawrence Happy John Owen, (Minnie Love and Heidi Sunshine)

Luke Christopher Æneas, (Angus, Orlando and Cosmo)

Oscar Gürsel

Oscar Jack Peter, (Kit and Jemima)

Peter Jack, Angus

Raphael Willam, (Isabella Flora and Lochlann James)

Rudy Felix James, (Olly and Chloe)

Tarka Alexander Arthur

Tobias Tarquin

Thomas Douglas Marinho

Wilbur Clement, (Patti Plum)

My favourite sibset? It has to be Lawrence Happy, Minnie Love and Heidi Sunshine.

Categories: London Telegraph Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.