“This means the world to me,” said Kosta Pseftelis who was first to grab the cross. “I’ve been wanting this since I was a child.” The young man had to compete with 48 other young men between the ages 16 and 18, according to a wfla.com report.
The teenagers dove for the cross in the Spring Bayou for the 109th Epiphany on Tuesday, but it took less than a minute for Pseftelis to grab hold of the coveted treasure. Diving for the cross is part of the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan
“I jumped in,” said Pseftelis. “I saw it floating.”
Pseftelis is studying architecture at St. Petersburg College. His family said that retrieving the cross will bring him blessings in the pursuit of his dreams.
About 20,000 people gathered at Spring Bayou to attend the ceremony and watch the young men jump into the water for the cross. Archbishop Demetrios also conducted a moment of silence before the cross dive for fallen Tarpon Springs Police Officer Kondek.