Tarpon Spring, FL.- Tarpon Springs’ 110th celebration of Epiphany will be held Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the historic St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 36 N. Pinellas Ave., and Spring Bayou.
“This Holy Event is not merely a yearly symbolic re-enactment, but a ‘real-time’ transformation of nature,” said the Rev. Father James Rousakis, interim dean of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. “Therefore, we here in the Tarpon Springs area become recipients of the true metamorphosis of our environment. We are protected from above.”
Several prominent leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church travel to Tarpon Springs for the celebration, including Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta.
Leading up to the feast day, the Blessing of the Fleet will be Tuesday, Jan. 5, noon to 1 p.m. Bishop Sebastian of Zela, the chief secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of America and a former dean of the St. Nicholas Cathedral, will bless the fishermen, their vessels and the water in which they travel.
The service will occur at the Sponge Docks on the Anclote River, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. Both commercial fishermen and recreational boaters will participate.
Upon their arrival on Jan. 5, Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Alexios will attend the traditional welcome luncheon with the Orthodox clergy and dignitaries of the area at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Clearwater.
Epiphany observances begin with orthros – or matins, a daybreak service – at 8 a.m. Jan. 6. This will be followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 10 a.m.
After the liturgy and Great Blessing of the Waters, Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Alexios, other visiting hierarchs, clergy, dignitaries and thousands of people will form a procession to Spring Bayou. School children in traditional costumes, choir members and Greek folk dance groups from throughout the Tampa Bay Area will join them.
THE DOVE BEARER
Fotini is a 17 year old Junior at Tarpon Springs High School. She is the daughter of John Sisois and George and Artemis Kotis. She has lived in Tarpon Springs all her life being raised in her Orthodox faith in St Nicholas Cathedral. She is highly active in school as a member of the Mayor’s Teen Advisory Council, National Honor Society, Secretary of the Executive board, Yearbook staff, Cheerleading and flag football.
Fotini has been a member of the St Nicholas Cathedral Greek Orthodox Youth Organization and is currently serving as the Secretary along with participating in the church’s choir since she was a little girl. Being this year’s Dove Bearer is meaningful to Fotini because her name day is celebrated on this day.