Tarpon Springs Celebrated Epiphany

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) _ Thousands of people have descended on the quiet city of Tarpon Springs to celebrate the Epiphany, which honors Jesus’ baptism by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan.

This weekend marks the 107th annual Epiphany celebration for the Greek Orthodox community.

Events include the blessing of the waters, a traditional litany procession and a cross dive.

Forty-seven male teens dove into 65-degree water Sunday to grab the cross.

Sixteen year-old Vassilios Harding was the first to retrieve it and was blessed by the pope and carried off on the shoulders’ of fellow divers as he hoisted the cross in the air.

The winner is said to be blessed with one year’s good luck.

This year’s cross floated rather than sank because organizers decided to make it lighter.