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EPIPHANY 2005

With a group of divers, Andrew McAdams III, 17, of Palm Harbor, far left, looks up at a bronze statue of a boy who captured the cross. McAdams would later recover this year's cross from the bayou.

Maria Koulias of Tarpon Springs prays next to a painting of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ in the Jordan River during a service Thursday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The Epiphany celebration commemorates Christ's baptism and is one of the holiest days on the Greek Orthodox calendar.

A dove is released over Spring Bayou, where the water was 65 degrees, Thursday during the Epiphany celebration. About 18,000 people flocked to Tarpon Springs for the event, the world's largest Epiphany observance outside of Greece.

Austin Aysh, 8, of Tarpon Springs, a member of the Levendia folk dancing group at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, waits for the parade to begin Thursday. Epiphany is a full day of liturgy and processionals that builds to the moment when Greek Orthodox boys dive in the bayou for a cross that is believed to bring good luck in the new year.

Andrew McAdams III gets a hug from his mother, Dede McAdams, after getting a trophy for recovering the cross Thursday. Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, looks on.

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