My Russian grandfather was born in the late 1890's in the state of Wolynia, the county of Kovel, and the town of Lechiny. His father was called "Awakum".

Does anyone know what kind of name that is and what it means?

Also, Could Wolynia be Volhynia?

  • 1
    Was Awakum his only name? If not, then do you think it was a surname, first name or some other type of name?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 19:42
  • 3
    I think you should ask about Wolynia in a separate question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 19:42
  • @PolyGeo perhaps you should accept the answer on behalf of OP. It's got 8 upvotes and this question it seems unlikely any more answers will come in for this. I would do it but I don't have permissions in this stack. Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 12:18
  • @williamcodes only the asker can accept an answer to their question. Not even moderators can override that. It’s nice when an answer gets accepted but it’s the upvotes that indicate the quality of an answer.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Avvakum (Lat.: Abacuc, Ukr.: Аввакум, Grk.: Αμβακουμ) is a biblical name derived from the name of prophet Habakuk (ca. 612 BC).

Also a notable person, protopope Avvakum Petrov (1620-1682) who led the opposition to Patriarch Nikon's reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, this name was popular among Old Believers (Ukr.: старообрядництво), a movement of those who also opposed the Nikonian reform.

In Ukrainian and Russian languages, this name has double "v" sound, as in /av-va-kum/, which might lead to a misspelled "w" among the English speakers.

Volyn', Volhynya, Wołyń, and Wolynia are the various names of Volyn' region of Ukraine. The spelling with "w" has Polish origin: Obwód wołyński.

Kovel is the second-largest city of Volyn' (ca. 69,000 population).

  • 2
    Lechiny sounds like Lychyny, Kamin'-Kashyrs'kyi district, Volyn Oblast, Ukraine Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 1:18

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