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.
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.
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
Throughout the year,
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.
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!