Name Day not Birthday

Question: Do the monks at St Finian still celebrate their birthday?

Answer: We no longer celebrate the birth of our flesh. We prefer however to celebrate the day we were born again in the Spirit – the day of our Profession – our Name Day.

It is customarily understood in Orthodoxy that when we are Professed, we die to our former selves and are reborn in Christ and as a consequence of that rebirth we are given a new Name-in-Christ. We therefore celebrate the date of our new birthday – our day of Profession.

However, this is not just an Orthodox custom as there are also a few Roman Catholic Benedictines who also celebrate their Profession date instead of their Birthdays; for example, the Subiaco Benedictine Monks in Arkansas. For example, We monks at Subiaco are not so accustomed to celebrating birthdays, but we do celebrate our profession dates” or “We monks typically celebrate only our profession dates; exceptions, however, are made for special occasions.