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7

Ta r p o n

Sp r i n g s

Ch amb e r

. c om

Discover Treasures on

the Sponge Docks

The Tarpon Springs Sponge Dock area offers a wide

variety of services that can help you explore the area’s

natural environment. Several marinas serve the needs

of boaters with maintenance, fuel, boat storage, docking

and rentals. The City operates its own marina with prime

boat slips. Multiple boats offer group deep-sea fishing

charters as well as private charters. Scuba charters and

rentals are also available.

If you’re looking for a guided ecological education,

tours range from a sponge diving exhibition boat ride to

eco-nature tours of the river, bayous and Gulf of Mexico.

A local aquarium offers you a chance to view sharks and

alligators close up and hand-feed stingrays.

Greek Culture

No other city in the United States has a higher

percentage of residents of Greek heritage than Tarpon

Springs. An array of everyday activities and special

events exemplify this rich culture. It is expressed in the

sponge docks, Greek Town, St. Nicholas Cathedral,

occupations, music and dance, social organizations,

family values and religious practices.

The Greek Orthodox Church plays a pivotal role in

the community by sustaining religious traditions.

Whether expressed through iconography, architecture,

chanting, vestments, or ritual, beauty in the expression

of the divine is an important aspect of the religion.

The Greek community has kept alive its rich variety

of native music – traditional and popular, much of which

can be heard in the local bistros and at the festivals

held throughout the year. Both classical (Byzantine

chanting) and folk, which varies regionally in style

and instrumentation make up the traditional styles.

Today’s popular music reflects influences from

Europe and America.

Tarpon Springs’

Epiphany Celebration

The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Epiphany on

January 6th of each year in remembrance of the baptism

of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. Following tradition,

the Tarpon Spring’s Greek community celebrates

Christ’s baptism with sanctification of the waters and the

immersion of the cross in Spring Bayou each year.

A CITY OF

CELEBRATIONS

Throughout the year,

Tarpon Springs

celebrates many types

of festive occasions.

A popular event is

the City’s Night in the

Islands, with Greek

music and dance,

usually the first

Saturday of the month.

Greek Independence

Day (March 25) is

observed with a parade

and glendi (party).

Each January 6th, the entire city is covered with

banners representing the baptism of Christ and other

Christian scenes. The town is alive with activity not only

downtown, but also on the waterfront, where the entire

sponge fleet is anchored in line–many of them painted

in white and blue, symbolic of Greece, and many flying

Greek and American flags. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox

Church starts the festivities of the day with a sunrise

service at 7 am. followed by a very large processional

to Spring Bayou with members and dignitaries of the

church and local community.

Once the procession has arrived at the bayou, the

Archbishop stands on a platform near the center of the

bayou, so that every person hears him bless the waters

and watch as a white dove is released, symbolizing the

Holy Ghost. The Archbishop then throws a specially

crafted wooden cross into the water and dozens of

young boys dive into the water to swim, wrestle and

churn the water in search of the cross. The throwing

of the cross symbolizes casting of the bread of truth

upon the troubled world. The plunging of the young

boys into the water signifies the immersion of Christ

into the River Jordan. According to Greek custom,

whoever retrieves the cross will have blessings for

the year and divine beneficence.

After the ceremony, the procession returns to

the church, where bottles of blessed holy water are

distributed to the faithful, so that they can bless their

homes with it. The successful diver, along with the rest

of the boys, makes Epiphany rounds in the community,

visiting businesses while singing religious hymns, to end

up at the Epiphany Glendi – a daylong dinner and dance

at the parish Community Center.

Fr. Athanasios C. Haros, Dean Fr. Sampson Kasapakis, Assistant Priest (727) 937-3540 www.stnicholastarpon.org Cathedral: 36 N. Pinellas Ave. Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 Office: 17 E. Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 Home of the biggest Theophany celebration in the Western Hemisphere, our Cathedral family welcomes you to discover the beauty of Orthodoxy!