The 113th Epiphany celebration took place in Tarpon Springs, Florida with Archbishop Demetrios, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, officiating.
Thousands of onlookers watched as 58 boys from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral jumped into the bayou to retrieve a cross in a ceremony that commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ, which Orthodox Christians celebrate on January 6th.
For Ilias Skandaliaris, born on the Greek island of Kalymnos where many of Tarpon Springs’ residents hail from and raised in Tarpon Springs since he was 3, it was a moment that brought him to tears of joy after years watching others receive the honor.
“I feel like it’s a dream,” Skandaliaris said. “Everything is a blur, everything is fast, everything is love.”
The largest Epiphany celebration in the Western Hemisphere brought an estimated 22,000 people to downtown Tarpon Springs from throughout the world.
Special thanks to our reader Irene Kourkoutis Karavokiros who shared her family’s photos from the celebrations and congratulations to her nephew Ilias.
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