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Vol. 3 No. 5 - Feast of St. Nicholas 2008

Northern Nomenclature:
Saint Lawrence River


The Saint Lawrence River was first visited by a European in 1535, during the explorations of Jacques Cartier, guided by the two sons of the Iroquois chief Donnacona. Originally named Kahnawákye in the Tuscarora language and Kaniatarowanenneh (literally "big waterway") in Mohawk, the river was named for the martyr Saint Lawrence the Deacon of Rome, on whose feast day the river was encountered by Champlain.

Saint Lawrence himself is noted for his connection with the chalice from the Last Supper, known as the Holy Grail, with some suggestions that he was entrusted with its care. Others have suggested that as a deacon, the care of the liturgical chalice was his primary responsibility, and that from this association was drawn his connection with the Grail. In either case, the commemoration of this chalice-bearing saint in the name of this river is very suitable, since just as the Chalice pours out life to the world, the Saint Lawrence River has proved to be God's means of bringing Canada its life as a nation, from its earliest use as a highway by native peoples, to its central part in Canada's settlement, to the access it provided countless immigrants coming to this land.

Father Geoffrey Korz, (Feast of St. Nicholas, 2008)

© All Saints of North America Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America, 2008.