Why a New Name at Tonsure?

Question: In connection with what, at a tonsure to monasticism, is the one receiving the schema given a new name?

Answer: Monasticism is a free-will renunciation from the good and values of the world. At the tonsure the future monk gives vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to his spiritual constructor. The departure from the world from ancient times is an image of death. The one born to a new life receives a new name. According to Holy Scripture, a name is not simply a distinguishing mark for a person, but expresses the essence and meaning of the named. The Lord told the Patriarch: “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall they name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (Gen 17:4-5).

A name is given to the one being tonsured. The future monk hears his name for the first time during the tonsure. From that moment on he feels himself a new person.

It is the same thing with the tonsure to the Great Schema. Although the vows of the Great Schema are the same as with the Small Schema, the strictest rules are laid upon the tonsured. This means yet another birth, which is accompanied by a change of name.

Source: http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-new-name-at-tonsure.html#links