Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Origin of the name "Frosina"

A Frosina Infobit      ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Origin of the name “Frosina”

In response to many inquiries from both individuals and
organizations  requesting  an  explanation  of  the  name
"Frosina", the Frosina Information Network was named after my mother, Frosina Christo. She was born Frosina Naum in 1909, the daughter of Kostandini and Anastas Naum, in Drenova, Albania, a village near Korçe in southern Albania. She brought me to America when I was only one year old to join my father, Spiro “Piro” Christo, who had arrived in America a few months earlier to establish a home for us in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts.

My mother, Frosina, was an orphan who was brought up by her uncle Themistokli Naum and his family because her own mother and father had both died when she was a small child. My mother was outgoing and had a lot of friends with whom she was affectionately known as “Froska.”  She also had a reputation as a great cook, particularly when it came to making two popular Albanian baked pastry dishes -- Lakror and Baklava. I have many fond memories while I was growing up of my mother singing in the kitchen as she was rolling out dough for Lakror. But life for her was not especially easy, and there were many times when money was scarce. Although my father could speak passable English, my mother didn't know English very well and was hesitant to utilize the little bit of the language that she did know. Because of that, she seldom had the opportunity to communicate at length with anyone other than friends and relatives from Albania living nearby.

Where my mother was extremely outgoing and popular in her own group, among "Americans" she was often intimidated and uncertain. She had many dreams for herself and for me, but, unfortunately, she didn't have time to realize most of her dreams or to see me achieve mine. My mother died at the age of 48 after having been seriously ill because of heart disease (rheumatic fever) and after undergoing several major operations that eventually resulted in the amputation of both of her legs.

I feel that in many ways my mother, Frosina, represents all mothers and fathers who immigrated to America. Her hardship and struggle are symbolic of the difficulties experienced by our families when they came to this land. However, they came to America so they could have a better life for themselves, and, especially, for their children.

How proud my mother would have been if she had lived long enough to know that, having brought me from Albania to America as an infant, I was nominated to be Ambassador to Albania in 1994 by U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, Fmr. Congressman Robert Drinan, and others.  In her memory, the Frosina Information Network is attempting to give something of our own good fortune to the mothers and fathers of the next generation of Albanian-Americans.
               The Root of the name “Frosina”

My mother was baptized in the Christian Orthodox faith in a Greek church* in Drenova, Albania, with the first name “Frosina.”  In all probability, the name “Frosina” is derived from the Greek word “Euphrosyne” which, translated into English, signifies “gladness” or “having good feelings about someone.”

The root of the word “Euphrasy’ is eve, which, in Greek, means “good,” whereas phenois signifies the area of your body where good feelings are experienced. Therefore, eve phenois could be translated  as “good feelings” and/or gladness.”

The female Saint Euprosyne of Alexandria - who lived in the 400s AD. (5th C) - was among the beloved and popular saints among women in the Orthodox world and is also commemorated in Roman Catholic hagiographies.  There was also another - a 14th Century Russian:  St. Efrosina, a Princess of Moscow - highly regarded in the slavic world.
Among Albanians, the name had many variations, such as:  Frosina, Frosa, Evdhoksia and Dhoksa, even Nena Dhoksa, Nena Frosa, etc).

*The Albanian Orthodox Churches in Albania and America were established after 1912. Since Albania was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years, persons of Albanian origin were forced to attend Greek schools, those who were Roman Catholic attended French, Italian, or Austrian schools, and Muslim Albanians attended Turkish schools. The teaching of the Albanian language was strictly forbidden by the Ottoman administration often under severe penalties including imprisonment.
 Later, after Albania finally proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, Christian Orthodox, Muslim, and Roman Catholic Albanians were soon able to attend religious services in Albania under Albanian clergy and administrators.


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