This Ukranian surname of WASKO was a baptismal name 'the descendant of WASKO' a pet form of VASYL, the Slavic form of Basil which was originally of English and French origin, from a medieval given name spelled thus, but ultimately from the Greek Basileios 'Royal' the name borne by a 4th century bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, regarded as one of the four Fathers of the Eastern Church; he wrote important theological works and established a rule for religious orders of monks. In some cases the surname also comes from the feminine form of the given name. St Basilla (AD 304) was a Roman maiden, who according to legend chose death rather than marry a pagan. Various other saints are also known under this name Basilla. The popularity of the name Vasili in Russia is largely due to the fact that this was the Church name of St. Vladimir (956-1015) Prince of Kiev, who was chiefly responsible for the introduction of Christianity to Russia. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate, and granted 355 armorial bearings in the 18th century.
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