For the 114th year, thousands of Greek Orthodox faithful and other onlookers will gather in Tarpon Springs, Florida for St. Nicholas Cathedral’s annual Epiphany ceremony commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ.
Among other local and national public figures, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will attend the historic ceremony.
In an interview with local NBC affiliate WFLA, the archbishop said he was looking forward to taking part in the event for the first time.
“I want to express my joy and happiness that I am with you for the first time as archbishop and I will participate for first time in Epiphany in Tarpon Springs,” he said.
Each year, dozens of young men dive into the water to retrieve the cross after the archbishop throws it into the water.
Greek Orthodox communities throughout the world practice the centuries-old tradition, which celebrates Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
As tradition goes, the diver who retrieves the cross receives a blessing for the whole year.
In the video below, WFLA reporter Megan Gannon interviews a young woman participating for the first time in the ceremony as a “dove-bearer.”
Featured image / Douglas Clifford, Tampa Bay Times
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