The Baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan will be celebrated on Friday, Jan. 6, at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs. A litany procession to the Spring Bayou will commence immediately following the church service.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios (primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), Metropolitan Alexios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, and Metropolitan Nikitas will be blessing the community with their presence at this year’s observance.
The Rev. Fr. Michael Eaccarino, Dean of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, says, “This most holy event, which is not merely a yearly symbolic re-enactment but a ‘real time’ transformation of nature, is a true blessing for the Tarpon Springs area and the entire world as we become recipients of the true metamorphosis of our environment… We are protected from above.”
Leading up to the feast day, the Blessing of the Fleet is Thursday Jan. 5, around noon. Metropolitan Nikitas will bless the fisherman, their vessels, and the water in which they travel, and wish them safe and prosperous journeys. The service will occur at the Sponge Docks on the Anclote River in the heart of Tarpon Springs. The blessing will spread from the river into the Gulf of Mexico and the entire world. Both commercial fishermen and recreational boaters will participate.
On Friday Jan. 6, Epiphany observances begin at 8 a.m. with Orthros (Matins) followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 10 a.m. The cathedral is located at 36 N. Pinellas Ave. in Tarpon Springs.
Following the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Demetrios, hierarchs, clergy, dignitaries and thousands of people will form a litany procession to Spring Bayou. Schoolchildren in traditional costumes, choir members and Greek Folk dance groups from throughout the Tampa Bay Area will lead this procession.
(source: Tampa Bay Newspapers)