Pax Vobis
Origin of Pacitti Name

Alfonso Pacitti

This greeting is well known to christians and latin scholars alike and my father would often emphasise this link as an apt description of his Pacitti family. The Italian surname Pacitti is of patronymic origin; this means that it is derived from the personal name of the father of the original bearer of the name. In this case, the surname derives from the name Pacitto, a variant of Pace. The Italian name Pace derives from the Latin word ‘pax’ or ‘pacis’, which means ‘peace’.

During the middle ages, parents frequently named their children after saints and biblical figures. However some names reflected the aspirations of the parents that their child would display certain qualities during their lifetime. The name Pacitto was therefore given to a child as an expression of the hope that they would experience peace and serenity during his lifetime. Additionally, this medieval augural name conveyed the Christian hope that the child would be at peace with God and obtain eternal salvation.

The name Pacitto contains the diminutive suffix ‘-itto’. Often, the final letter ‘o’ of Italian surnames frequently changed to ‘i’ when the surname was passed from one generation to the next, The meaning of the surname Pacitti may be interpreted as ‘son or descendant of Pacitto’.

Variants of the surname Pacitti include Pace, Paci, Pacino, Pacello and Pacitto. These surnames are found throughout Italy and vary according to region eg. the surnames Pacitto and Pacitti are found in Southern Italy around Cassino. References to the name Pacitti and its variants include the listing of several noble families bearing the name Paci. Records of such a family from Assisi date back to 1282. One Egidio Paci was a magistrate there in 1597. Another more recent famous example is Eugenio Pacelli, born in Rome in 1876, who became Pope Pius X11 and reigned from 1939 to 1958.

The emblem shown above can also be associated with the Pacitti family. It is derived from a monogram and commonly used as a symbol for Christianity in its early days. It consists of the superimposed Greek letters chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ); these are the first letters of the word Christ in Greek. They are often embroidered on altar cloths and clerical vestments. It is also known as a Christogram, symbolising 'peace' since conveniently they are also the first and last letters, in Latin, of the word Pax. This emblem was also found inscribed near the tomb of St Peter underneath the Basilica at Rome, although I am not claiming any family connection the any of the 12 Apostles.