2014 News Archives

Annual Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration began with Archbishop Demetrios Presiding at Tampa Divine Liturgy

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America conduction the service of the Sanctification of the Waters (aghiasmos) at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist, in Tampa, Fla.
© photo © Dimitrios Panagos/GOA

Tampa, Fla. – The Annual Feast of the Epiphany of Christ, celebrated every year on Jan. 6, is a 108 year tradition in the small town of Tarpon Springs, known around the world as Epiphany City.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America began the festivities this morning, presiding at the Sunday Divine Liturgy in the nearby Greek Orthodox Church of Saint John the Baptist, here in Tampa.

“We should all imitate the work and the life of St. John the Baptist, the patron Saint of this Parish and intensify our relationship and our connection with God, and increase our sensitivity on matters affecting our world and society,” said the Archbishop as he explained that St. John lived an ascetic life, dedicated to God, preparing himself and the people of his time for the coming of Christ. He added that St. John, whose feast is celebrated, Jan. 7, the day after Epiphany, preached justice, fairness, kindness and an active engagement of social responsibility.

His Eminence, assisted by the parish priest Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and Deacon Eleftherios Constantine, proceeded with a special service of the Sanctification of the Waters (aghiasmos), which is done in memory of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.

His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela blessing the fleet and the establishments at Tarpon Springs. (photo © Dimitrios Panagos/GOA)

In the town of Tarpon Springs, in the early afternoon, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, who is the Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and former pastor of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Tarpon Springs, conducted at the town sponge docks, the same service of Sanctification of the Waters and the Blessing of the Fleet.  Bishop Sevastianos blessed with sanctified water the fishermen, their vessels, the many faithful who had gathered and the business establishments along Dodecanese Boulevard.

Epiphany is celebrated tomorrow Jan. 6. The morning Archieratical Divine Liturgy will be followed by the service of the Blessing of the Waters, the litany procession to the small town cove of Tarpon Springs called Spring Bayou, and the dive for the cross by more than 40 young men.

Orthodox Observer Online