Epiphany

Tarpon Springs held its 117th annual Epiphany celebration, which celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, which revealed Christ as the messiah. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, performed the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The liturgy was followed by a blessing of the waters at Spring Bayou, a dove release, and a cross dive, in which 16-18 year old boys dive after the Epiphany cross and the first to emerge is said to have a year’s worth of blessings.

On assignment for the Tampa Bay Times.

Reneé Katsaras, an organist and assistant director of the choir at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, lights a candle during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Tarpon Springs.
Michael Zaronias, 55, of Tarpon Springs, venerates an icon at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, performs the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
People observe the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Jack Papesch, 69, of Tampa, prays during the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, performs the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Deacons swing censers at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Dove bearer Elena Gonatos, 17, a junior at East Lake High School, and last year’s Epiphany cross retriever Alexander Makris, 17, of New Port Richey, stand outside the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Elena Gonatos, 17, a junior at East Lake High School, holds a dove outside the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Girls dressed in white stand outside the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral before the procession to the Spring Bayou during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, releases cross divers to jump into the Spring Bayou during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
Cross divers wait on small boats in the Spring Bayou to retrieve the Epiphany cross during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
George Stamas, 16, of Tarpon Springs, clutches the Epiphany cross after being the first to reach it in the Spring Bayou during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration. The first to emerge with the cross is said to bring their family a year’s worth of blessings.
Chris Stamas, 43, of Tarpon Springs, is embraced after his son, George Stamas, 16, of Tarpon Springs, reached the Epiphany cross in the Spring Bayou during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration. The first to emerge with the cross is said to bring their family a year’s worth of blessings.
A cross diver kisses the Epiphany cross held by George Stamas, 16, of Tarpon Springs during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, celebrates with George Stamas, 16, of Tarpon Springs, as he clutches the Epiphany cross during the 117th annual Epiphany celebration.