Epiphany 2013 Builds on Tradition
The Epiphany celebration takes place this weekend in Tarpon Springs and is a must-see event for locals. But have you ever wondered about the history of the celebration?
As a new year begins to unravel, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral celebrates its 107th Epiphany event in Tarpon Springs.
The Theophany Epiphany includes a blessing of the fleet and waters in Tarpon Springs. The Orthos and Diving Liturgy service takes place at the cathedral in addition to the infamous dive for the cross at Spring Bayou.
Each year, the Epiphany is held on January 6 and is part of the Christian Christmas calendar which makes it the last of the 12 days of Christmas, according to ReligionFacts.com and is reveled as the celebration of God's human identity through Jesus Christ.
In Tarpon Springs, the festival has earned noteriety around the world and even drew attention from his all-holiness, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople in 2006, when the 100th celebration was fulfilled, according to Wikipedia.
The celebration is achieved through fellowship, food and drink.
Young, Greek Orthodox males compete to retrieve the cross at Spring Bayou after Sunday services during the Epiphany event. The dove bearer releases a white dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit before a cross is thrown into the water where a multitude of male teens dive in after it.
It is believed that whichever youngster retrieves the cross will be blessed for an entire year.
The event hasn't gone without controversy. Last year, pranksters threw phony crosses in the Bayou and the scene resulted in four teens being named retrievers according to the Tampa Bay Times. However, Father Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral promised that there would only be one cross retriever honored from then on, the Times reported.
Cross retrievers from 2012 included:
- Jared Alissandratos, 16
- Alexi Lake, 16
- Louis Mailisand, 17
- Miros Petru, 17
This year, a number of events will be held in honor of the celebration. Check them out here.