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Louis Pappas retrieves cross during Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration

TARPON SPRINGS — A member of one of the city's best-known families retrieved the coveted white cross Thursday, moments after it was tossed into Spring Bayou as part of the city's 105th Epiphany celebration.

Louis Pappas, a quarterback at Tarpon Springs High and a great-grandson of the man who founded Tarpon Springs' famed Greek restaurant of the same name, burst to the surface of the bayou with the cross in hand shortly before 1 p.m.

The dive for the cross is the highlight of the celebration. It drew thousands of people to the banks of the bayou to watch a processional of 76 boys eager to be the one who retrieved the cross.

Whoever retrieves the cross is said to have favor from God.

Tarpon Springs has one of the largest Epiphany celebrations in the western hemisphere. It began Thursday with a 10 a.m. Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Schedule

2011 Epiphany Celebration

Thursday

8 a.m.: Epiphany observances begin with Orthros (Matins). St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral is at 36 N. Pinellas Ave.

10 a.m.: The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

12:30 p.m.: Traditional procession to Spring Bayou, where the dove bearer will release the dove and Greek Orthodox male youths will dive for the Epiphany cross.

1:30-9 p.m.: Epiphany Glendi (festival) with food, drink, live music and dancing. Spanos-Pappas Community Center, Theofilos Hall, 348 N Pinellas Ave. Admission is $3.

Louis Pappas retrieves cross during Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration 01/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 9:08am]
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