It's Greek To Me
Greek Ancestry In Middletown, Ohio
Last updated 11/12/2012
My mother addressed Christ Hedges and always referred to him as "Haji." That title/name is always given and associated with a Greek who has made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the days before Easter. (Those of us who have been to the Holy Land can not use that title unless they followed a ritual during Easter). "Haji" aka "Hajji" title is especially revered by Asia Mirnor Greeks. It can be picked up as part of a surname by the next generation. As an example, there is Nick Hagistilianos of Middletown. His brother (Mary Ellen Christy's husband, Pete) dropped the "Haji" and goes by the surname of Stilianos.
Usage in the Balkan Peninsula
In Christian countries formerly under the rule of the Islamic Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, the title was also sometimes used by Christians despite the initial explicit reference to Islam. In the case of Eastern Orthodox Christians, a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre is almost always meant. The title is rendered as хаджи (hadzhi) in Bulgarian Cyrillic, and хаџи (hadži) in Serbian and Macedonian Cyrillic. In Greek — as the first part in a Greek family name — it is spelled χατζη- (khatzi-). It can often be found in family names, whether written together, hyphenated or separate, of people who descend from pilgrims from the times of the Ottoman Empire..
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