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Teenager picks up cross at Tarpon Springs Epiphany 2022 – CBS Tampa

Tarpon Springs, Fl. (CW44 News At 10) – The largest Holy Trinity celebration in Florida returned to Tarpon Springs in full force.

Last year, the Greek Orthodox celebration was screwed down due to COVID-19, and this year thousands gathered to honor the baptism of Christ.

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“This is a very unique experience, a very special experience,” said Colton Sakadales, last year’s crown bearer.

Sakadales speaks of The Epiphany: a Christian Orthodox tradition celebrating the baptism of Christ.

“I’m so glad we’re going to fully experience this event where we can be proud of our community and our culture,” Sakadales said.

On Thursday, during the Holy Trinity celebration in Tarpon Springs, church members went to Spring Bayou. A tradition is that the archbishop throws a cross into the water and 65 boys from the church dive in to look for it. The boy who finds the cross is especially blessed. Last year it was Sakadales.

“I was immediately greeted with so much spirit and brotherhood,” Sakadales said.

This year’s cross-retriever is 16-year-old Alexander Makris. Another tradition involves a girl chosen by the church. This year it’s Katerina Lecurezos. She had the honor of releasing a dove representing the Spirit of Christ.

“A bunch of emotions and feelings. For the divers and I, it’s all a matter of minutes to make your time shine, and to take it all in and hold on to it as much as you can,” Lecurezos said.

Last year’s celebration looked very different because of the pandemic.

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“It was much more laid back, in terms of audience, there were obviously a lot fewer people, no one was allowed to enter the church,” Sakadales said.

But on Thursday, thousands of people showed up and filled the area around the bayou.

“It’s just so heartwarming to see slowly but surely everything come back,” Lecurezos said.

With so many people in the city from across the country, church members are not the only ones affected.

“This is bigger than, say, a first Friday, but we could see anywhere between 15 and 30% increase in daily revenue,” said the owner of a gift shop in Tarpon Springs, called Sunshine Supply Company, BJ Wolf .

Wolf says his wife lost her job during the pandemic last year, and they decided to open their own store … but it’s been difficult to adjust.

“It was a unique experience to get out of the back end of the pandemic when companies started reopening,” Wolf said.

After two hard years, Wolf says he is grateful to see everyone come together and see some help for his small business.

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“Really enjoy the experience and the revelation to the community, and we also hope to get some sales out of it,” Wolf said.

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