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Lviv, Ukraine
Lviv, Ukraine | © SofiLayla / Pixabay
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The Most Beautiful Ukrainian Names and What They Mean

Picture of Maria Sibirtseva
Updated: 24 March 2018
For a long time, the majority of Ukrainian names originated from the times of Kievan Rus. But after the Christianization of the state, people started to adopt Christian names and adjust them in accordance with the language rules. For example, one of the most common and beautiful names Alex is known as Oleksandr in Ukraine.

Zoryana

Zorayna is a female Slavic name that has several interpretations. The first one comes from Ukrainian and means “a clear star” (zorya). However, the second implies a different spelling – Zaryana and translates the name as “a dawn.” Zoryana has ancient roots; it was a widespread name during the baptism period in Eastern Europe. It still remains popular.

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Starry sky | © Pexels / Pixabay

Ivan and Ivanna

The name Ivan comes from the old Hebrew John and means “pardoned by God.” This name came into use with the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus in the 10th century. In Ukrainian literature, one can also observe iterations of the name with Ivasyk, Vanya, or Van’ka. For the name Ivan there are female alternatives like Ivanna or Johanna.

Bohdan and Bohdana

The literal translation of name Bohdan is “given by God” or “God’s gift.” Thus, one can see the Ukrainian word for God—Boh, and an adjective for given—danyi. After the advent of Christianity, this name was used for a boy whose birth parents were expecting with great impatience. Despite an ancient origin, the name is not included in the list of Catholic and Orthodox saints. As in the case of Ivan, there’s a female option—Bohdana.

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Bohdan Khmelnytsky monument in Kiev | ©George Chernilevsky / WikiCommons

Mykhailo

The origin of the name Michael is associated with words translated from the ancient Hebrew language as “one like God” or “equal to God.” It is a Ukrainian version of the Western Michael. Thus, this name is widespread in Christian countries and honoured by Archangel Michael. The saint is considered to be heavenly patron of Kiev and the winner of evil spirits, which in Christianity were considered a source of diseases.

Roksolana

Roksolana is a traditional Ukrainian name that means “a woman from the Roksolan tribe.” In the Middle Ages, in the Turkish and European documents, the term Roksolania and Roksolans were used to name Ukraine and its originators. Interestingly, one of the most popular women in the history of Ukraine was named Roksolana. She is also known as Anastasia Lisovska, a daughter of the Ukrainian priest or Hurrem Sultan – a wife of the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who was protecting the motherland from numerous attacks of the Ottoman Empire.

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Portrait of Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) | © vuralyavas / Pixabay

Rostyslav and Rostyslava

Rostyslav is a Slavic name that consists of two words “to grow” (rosty in Ukrainian) and “glory” (slava), therefore it has different variants. More often one can meet the meaning of the “one, whose glory grows,” but there’s also an interpretation of the “growing glory.” It is yet another name that originates from the Kievan Rus and is associated with the ruling of Prince of Kiev Rostyslav. Also, as a term of endearment, one usually says Slava for both male and female (Rostyslava).

Vira

Vira is Ukrainian female canonical name that is derived from the Old Slavonic language. In translation, it means “faith” and is often related to the ancient Greek word, which is translated as “ministry to God” and “belief.” Moreover, it is considered one of the universal Christian saints along with Hope (Nadiya) and Charity (Lubov). In childhood, Vira usually called Viron’ka or Virochka. Some people believe it may be an abbreviation of Venus or Veronica, but in Ukraine, Vira is itself a common name.

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Symbol of faith | © Marisa04 / Pixabay