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The origin of Saveliev...

It is commonly thought as to have come from the Bible's Saul. I find the following sequence more plausible:

Sabin = Sabellic, Sabellian (people)

  • -> Sabellian -> Sabellus
  • -> Sabellus = Sabellius (Roman cognomen)
  • -> Sabellius -> Saveliy (first name)
  • -> Saveliy -> Saveliev (last name) = Saveliy's son

The "Sabellius -> Saveliy" step might seem far-fetched, but there is a justification...

  • As new names were adopted in Russia, some of the double letters were dropped: Arkhip, Filip, Kiril, Abakum, etc.
  • Switching from 'b' to 'v' is very common in transition to Russian:
    • Barbara -> Varvara,
    • Benjamin -> Veniamin,
    • Basil -> Vasily.
  • Dropping 's' at the end of a name is very common in transition to Russian (even though adding a suffix wasn't unusual either: Klement -> Klementy, Saul or Sabel -> Saveliy?):
    • Gaius -> Gai,
    • Julius -> Yuliy,
    • all below.
  • There are at least 9 cognomina that correspond to Russian given names (there are many more similar examples):
    • Anatolius,
    • Arcadius,
    • Gennadius,
    • Gregorius,
    • Ignatius,
    • Laurentius,
    • Leontius,
    • Nazarius,
    • Sabellius.
  • The third century theologian Sabellius is known in Russia as "Savelliy". This can't be him because he was excommunicated while the rest of the names in the list above come from the names of some early Christian saints and martyrs. There is some St. Sabellius (aka Abylius, Avilius), the 3rd patriarch of Alexandria...

Having said that, the official church version is that the name comes from "Sabel", from the three Byzantium martyrs: Manuel, Sabel, and Ismael. The name then seems to be related to Isabella...