TARPON SPRINGS, Fla — The 114th Epiphany celebration is underway in Tarpon Springs.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America will be on the Sponge Docks for the iconic cross dive.
Volunteers began setting up for the festivities Friday, building the platform where the dignitaries will stand and positioning a ring of small boats.
On Monday, a group of teenage boys between the ages of 16 and 18 will climb onto those boats and compete in the traditional cross dive. They’ll plunge into Spring Bayou and give it their all to claim the honor of grabbing a cross that’s tossed into the water.
Capturing the cross symbolizes a year of good luck, and the young man who does it gets carried to Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral to receive blessings.
You can watch last year's cross dive here:
“It’s an awesome experience. I get to be with friends and family and we have a great time together, adding to that we get to represent the baptism of Jesus Christ and it’s just an honor,” Michael Karatzas said.
The Epiphany is how Greek Orthodox celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ, and the archbishop will be the one who throws the cross. He’ll arrive Saturday afternoon at Tampa International Airport, where crowds of the faithful will greet him with flowers.
On Sunday, he’ll preside over a blessing of "the fleet" at the Sponge Docks.
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