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Epiphany pageantry

The ritual and attendant festival spread over the whole weekend as Tarpon Springs celebrates its 100th Epiphany celebration.

By Times Staff Writer
Published January 5, 2006

[Times photo (2005): Keri Wiginton]
Young men jump into Spring Bayou in an effort to retrieve the cross at the Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs last year. Andrew McAdams III, far left, successfully competed against 42 other Greek Orthodox teens to collect the prized cross.
Photo gallery with audio

  Epiphany 1906-2006 Tarpon Springs, Florida

TARPON SPRINGS - Epiphany is celebrated by the 250-million members of the Orthodox Church all over the world, but nowhere in the world, perhaps, does the ancient ritual take on the pageantry or scale that it does here.

This year more than 80,000 people are expected to attend as the city marks its centennial Epiphany with a celebration of unprecedented pomp and spiritual significance.

Among the expected guests are cultural and political leaders from around the United States, Europe and Asia, most notably, the worldwide spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church, His All Holiness Bartholomew, who is making his first trip from Istanbul to Florida.

Here's the schedule of public events. No pets or alcoholic beverages are allowed at any event:


Photographic exhibit opens. This exhibit includes a collection of photos from 100 years of Epiphany. Sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times, the exhibit runs through Jan. 30 at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 1001 S Pinellas Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The exhibit also will be open noon to 4 p.m. this Sunday only.

The blessing of the fleet will be from 11 a.m. to noon on the Anclote River, when the clergy bless the fishermen, their vessels and the altar. Commercial and recreational boats will participate.


Epiphany Day starts with the Orthros, the morning preparatory service, and the Patriarchal Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 36 N Pinellas Ave., at 8 a.m. The service will be followed by the procession to Spring Bayou.

The Diving for the Cross will take place about 12:30 p.m. at Spring Bayou, with His All Holiness Bartholomew performing the ceremony and tossing the cross. More than 50 young men between the ages of 16 and 18 will dive.

The Glendi, or festival, will be at the Sponge Docks from 1 p.m. to midnight with Greek food, music and dancing. The Sponge Docks will be blocked off to vehicles for the festival.


The Glendi continues from noon to midnight at the Sponge Docks.

Singer Mario Fragoulis will perform at 7 p.m. at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in honor of the visit of His All Holiness Bartholomew.


The Orthros and Patriarchal Liturgy will be performed by His All Holiness Bartholomew at St. Nicholas at 8 a.m.

A Patriarchal lunch will be held at St. Nicholas Cathedral Community Center, 348 N Pinellas Ave., at noon. Proceeds benefit St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.


An Epiphany Day shuttle will run to Tarpon Springs from the following locations Friday: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Parochial School at 2801 Keystone Road (and the First Church of Christ across the street); the southeast corner of McMullen-Booth and Keystone roads (entrance is on Keystone); Kmart and Publix parking lots on the northwest and southwest corners of U.S. 19 N and Tarpon Road. Service begins at 7 a.m. and continues every 20 minutes until 3 p.m. A shuttle runs hourly from 3 to 6 p.m. from the Glendi at the Sponge Docks to the parking lots.

[Last modified January 4, 2006, 13:02:04]

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