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.