Tarpon Springs, Fla. – Archbishop Demetrios of America arrived today in the Tampa Bay area for the 105th Annual Epiphany celebration that will take place tomorrow Jan. 6 in Tarpon Springs, which is known worldwide as Epiphany City.
Upon his arrival, Archbishop Demetrios was welcomed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, clergy and laity of the area and students from the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Tarpon Springs. His Eminence attended a clergy luncheon held at the Holy Trinity parish in Clearwater.
Earlier in the day Fr. Vasileios Tsourlis, the assistant priest of St. Nicholas, visited the Sponge Docks on the Anclote River, and blessed the fisherman and recreational boaters, their vessels, and the water in which they travel, and wished them safe and prosperous journeys.
On January 6th, Epiphany observances begin at 8 a.m. with Orthros (Matins) followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 10 a.m. The cathedral is located at 36 N. Pinellas Ave.
Following the Divine Liturgy and Great Blessing of the waters, Archbishop Demetrios, hierarchs, clergy, dignitaries and thousands of people will form an impressive procession to Spring Bayou, with school children in traditional costumes, choir members, Greek Folk dance groups from throughout the Tampa Bay Area. There, an invocation is recited, a young lady releases a white dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit to fly over the Bayou, an additional 105 doves will then be released celebrating the 105 years the holy spirit has bestowed upon Tarpon Springs. The Archbishop will cast a white cross into the water and some seventy-eight young men will dive for the cross, each seeking the honor of retrieving it. The retriever then kneels with the cross before the Archbishop for a blessing.
Following the ceremony, an Epiphany Glendi (festival) with food, drink, live music and dancing will take place at the Spanos-Pappas Community Center - Theofilos Hall, 348 N Pinellas Avenue.