Sven for a confirmation name?


I picked Saint Stephen as my patron saint for my confirmation. However, the Albanian version of Stephen is Sven (but I’m being confirmed in the US). Can I make the priest write Sven on my confirmation certificate?
This website says Sven is the alternative form of Stephen

Also wikipedia confirms that Sven is the Albanian form of Stephen


“Confirmation names” are not regulated by any sort of Church law or rule. It’s a custom that’s not required for the Sacrament, and not even practiced in some places. The priest should be able to write anything.


You will find individuals who will complain about all sorts of things.

That said, you should be able to use any translation of a saint’s name that suits you. You don’t have the use the most common English version just because you are receiving a sacrament in a primarily English speaking parish. I can’t imagine that any priest would have a problem with using Sven for Stephen.


That said, is the OP Albanian or Eastern European??? If he is then I think it is ok and he should let his priest know.

But if the OP is using Sven instead of Stephen because it sounds “cooler” or he wants to abridge the name like using Dick instead of Richard or Bill insteal of William I think it would be inappropriate. Proper respect should also be accorded to saints since you’re requesting their patronage.


If that’s the case, then shouldn’t his name be Στέφανος, or Stephanos or something like that?

Saint Stephen wasn’t an English speaker. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m wondering why you phrase the question that way. “Can I make the priest write Sven…?”

Frankly, no. You cannot “make” him write it on the certificate.

You can submit the name “Sven” to him as your Confirmation name. You cannot actually force him to spell the name any certain way, although he should use the spelling that you prefer.

Why are you phrasing your question that way? Is there some particular reason, or is there no reason but the question simply came out that way?


It’s probably more in line with Christian charity to assume that he is not a violent criminal, and that he’s not talking about a literal ability to “make” the Priest write something on a card, but more about whether or not he should expect his request to be accepted. :shrug:


You might consider a dose of that Christian charity and apply it to your own response to my post.

As a priest, I can tell you that there are indeed things that my parishioners can “make” me do simply by making the request known. It means that I have an obligation to meet that request—it doesn’t mean anyone is forcing me. The same applies to any other priest, including the one referenced in the question.

There is nothing uncharitable about asking a person why he chose to use a certain word in his question. After all, how can one answer a question without understanding the intent of the one asking? Apparently, you think that asking for clarification is uncharitable.

And if you would bother to actually read what I wrote before making a false accusation against me, you would have noticed that I asked this:
Is there some particular reason, or is there no reason but the question simply came out that way?

You might want to have that plank removed from your own eye before you go looking to pull splinters out of the eyes of others. Just a thought.


If Sven is an abridged form I would take it as inappropriate then.


So Father, what would you suggest then. If someone were to request to use unconventional confirmation names. Like Pete instead of Peter or Matt instead of Matthew??? Supposing Sven is an abridged form for Stephen???


Sven is a real, honest-to-goodness name. It’s not a nickname.


My sense of humor is not coming off well at all! Please accept my apology, Father.

As a priest, I can tell you that there are indeed things that my parishioners can “make” me do simply by making the request known. It means that I have an obligation to meet that request—it doesn’t mean anyone is forcing me. The same applies to any other priest, including the one referenced in the question.

What are the two types of “make” you are trying to distinguish between? One you mention indicates an obligation, an “ought,” the other… doesn’t?



You are “supposing” that it is. First, it isn’t.

Second, though, I’ll still answer the question.

My response would be to first ask “do you mean Pete and not Peter, or do you specifically mean Pete?” Then, if the answer comes back in the affirmative, I would ask “why?”

If the person had a good reason for using the nickname version, then I would write it that way in the official record.

I actually did have this happen once, not at a confirmation, but at a baptism (in principle the same for our topic here).

The parents wanted to baptize their son with a “nickname” version of a saints name. I’ll spare the entire narrative, but the reason was that this son was “the fourth.” His great-grandfather was baptised with that nickname version, and the oldest son of each generation was named likewise. While I was a bit surprised, it was not a problem, and I did not treat it as such.

You see, what we must remember here is that the Church forbids names that are contrary to the Christian faith. However, (contrary to popular belief) there is no requirement that names take any particular form–they don’t even have to be “saint’s names”. Catholics in the US have a long history of priests imposing their own choice of names upon parents, and for that reason, we priests need to be sensitive about not doing that in the present.

The other issue is to realize that our pronunciation of names evolve over the centuries (millennia even). When a perfectly Christian name comes into a new language, the native-speakers almost always eventually pronounce the name in a way that’s comfortable for them.

So, given that we have a 2000 year history of evolving name-pronunciations, who am I to tell an individual set of parents (or a confirmand) that they cannot do it?
What value am I protecting by preventing them?


You’re still missing the important point.

I’m asking the OP why he chose that word. Asking if there is a point to it, or not.


Thank you for all the answers.

“Can I make the priest write Sven on my confirmation certificate?”
The reason why I phrased it this way is that if I request and the priest rejects to write Sven instead of Stephen, I wanted to know if there’s any way to convince him such as showing him the related part of Catechism or Canon Law etc.

I’m so glad that there are priests reading this thread. Because my second concern is that if the priest rejects to do it, how does he justify his decision? I never thought this confirmation name issue is loosely regulated and solely dependent on the priest. So all the priests reading this; if you were to reject to write Sven instead of Stephen, how would you explain your decision to the catechumen?


Here’s my perspective as a priest.

The first thing to do is simply tell your priest that you’ve chosen the name Sven.

Don’t assume that he’s going to reject the name. After all, do you have any reason to think he might reject it? I mean a specific reason.

Now, I can understand that someone (not of Scandinavian descent, or not familiar with the name) might possibly be unaware that Sven is a form of Stephen (I only know that because coincidentally I know a Stephen who sometimes calls himself Sven—the subject never came up in any other context). So maybe, just maybe, perhaps, he might ask you about it. If he does, all you need to do is tell him that Sven is the Scandinavian pronunciation for Stephen—it’s that simple.

If you really are worried about this, when the time comes to give your Confirmation name just say “Sven, after Saint Stephen” instead of waiting to be asked.

And, please, don’t take it the wrong way if he does ask. Most priests (and given the opportunity, most bishops) make it a point to ask every confirmand “why did you choose that name?” It’s not a challenge, it’s a form of encouragement. :thumbsup:

From my perspective here, it seems that you’re anticipating a problem that is not very likely to even happen.

As to your second concern: My response is that priests don’t do this anymore, and have not done that for a very long time. Therefore, I rather doubt you’re going to hear from any priest who says “this is how/why I do it.”


Many years ago our pastor would go into a rant from the pulpit periodically about the strict necessity of picking a canonized saint’s name for the baptismal name. He would always tell of the parents who wanted to name their litttle girl “Hazel” (that probably tells you how long ago it was). Anyhow he would add “who ever would want to name their child after a nut.” As Father aged as the years went by, the story eventually became about the parents who wanted to name their child “Walnut.” To this day my family members recount this story whenever we gather for a baptism.

oh my, I started laughing again so hard I hand to correct half a dozen typos


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