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Thousands Join Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration

Diver retrieving the cross during Epiphany in Tarpon Springs, Florida, US
Diver retrieving the cross during Epiphany in Tarpon Springs. Credit: GreekReporter Video Screenshot

Tarpon Springs basked in its 117th annual Epiphany celebration, a richly choreographed religious and cultural event that brought thousands of visitors to the Florida city.

Tarpon Springs hosts the largest Epiphany celebration in the western hemisphere.

Following the Divine Liturgy and Great Blessing of the waters, Archbishop Elpidophoros, hierarchs, clergy, dignitaries, and young men and women proceeded to Tarpon Springs’ Spring Bayou.

The Archbishop cast a white cross into the water and dozens of young men dove for the cross, each seeking the honor of retrieving it.

There, an invocation was recited and a white dove was released, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, to fly over the Bayou.

Earlier, 9-year-old Emmanouela Kavouklis delivered flowers to Archibishp Elpidophoros.

Epiphany at Tarpon Springs

tarpon springs epiphany winner 2023, George Stamas
Tarpon Springs Epiphany Cross Retriever 2023, George Stamas. Credit: Tracey McManus / Twitter

The picturesque town has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. Many of them still work for the sponge industry which was started by their Greek ancestors.

Chris Alahouzos is the town’s proud mayor. Alahouzos and his family emigrated to the United States from the Greek island of Kalymnos when he was 14. His father was a sponge diver.

Tarpon Springs previously fostered sister city relationships with a number of Greek cities, most recently Hydra.

The two cities signed a sister city agreement in Hydra in September 2021 as a way to mark their historic connections and foster the growth of cultural and economic development between the two.

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