The most common masculine names in Greece include Giorgios, Ioannis, Konstantinos, Demetrios and Nikolaos, rendered in English as George, John, Constantine, Dmitri and Nicholas respectively. All of these names reflect the spirit and history of Orthodox Christianity in Greece and around the world.
Giorgios comes from Saint George, who is said to have slain the dragon. The Orthodox Church interprets this to mean he overcame the devil when he denounced Emperor Diocletian for his persecution of Christians, an act which led to his martyrdom. This original Saint George may have received his name for its ancient meaning, "farmer."
Ioannis, a variant of the Hebrew name John, was also the name of many martyrs. Two great saints bore this name, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. John means "God is gracious."
Konstantinos, meaning "constant," was the name of that conqueror and ruler who refounded Rome upon Byzantium, Constantine the Great. This ruler also legitimized Christianity within the Empire.
Demetrios was the name of the saint whom the Emperor Maximian had pierced with spears when Maximian's favorite wrestler was defeated by Nestor under the blessing of Demetrios. It is said that his relics exude myrrh. His name literally means "lover of the earth," suggesting that he followed the harvest goddess Demeter.
Nikolaos remains well-known around the world as Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, sailors and Greece. The name means "victorious people."