By Athena Mavromatis
Today, January 6, 2020, Tarpon Springs celebrated its 114th Epiphany ceremony. In the past years, the Greek community in Florida has hosted many special guests and historical figures such as Prime Minister Venizelos, his Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, and today with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as well as the Archbishop of America, His Eminence Elpidophoros.
The Archierarchial Liturgy began at 8 a.m with Archbishop Elpiphoros taking part in the service. Prime Minister Mitsotakis took some time to speak with the parishioners following the service, expressing his gratitude to the Hellenes of Tarpon Springs and stating how honored he was to have spent this special day with the Greek community in Florida.
Young worshippers had the honor of diving for the Holy Cross and began their journey to the spring bayou with the church clergy and their special guests around at around 11:30 a.m.
At around 1 p.m the Holy Cross was thrown into the spring bayou and the young men charged into the waters in hopes of being the blessed person who retrieves it. Hunter Sakadales was the young man who gripped the Holy Cross in his hand and officially became blessed for the year.
Following the dive, the worshippers and the clergy of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral headed to Tarpon Springs’ Craig Park for the Epiphany Glendi where Sakaledes was honored and paraded by fellow divers.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis spent time getting to know the community as he and his wife Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki walked the sponge docks with secret service by their side, greeting citizens, stopping for photographs, and even making a special appearance in Hellas Restaurant.
Epiphany Day is one of the most sacred and special celebrations that Tarpon Springs continues to honor and celebrate annually. The Hellenes of Tarpon Springs were very touched to host and meet the Greek Prime Minister and Archbishop of America, who made the day even more festive.
*Images courtesy of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Facebook page