Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is due to be the first national head of state to attend the famed Tarpon Springs, Florida Epiphany Celebration, one day before a scheduled Jan. 7 meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump.
It will the 114th Epiphany celebration for the Florida city which has a large Greek population, founded originally by sponge divers who came from Kalymnos and the Dodecanese islands.
These brave offshore divers not only made the sponge trade lucrative for themselves and the generations that came after them, but made it into a major attraction for tourists as well.
The great feast of Epiphany, which marks the baptism of Jesus Christ, draws thousands of spectators and participants every year to this Gulf Coast city. The highlight of the annual celebration occurs when dozens of teenage boys dive into Spring Bayou to retrieve the coveted cross thrown into the water by the bishop.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis will be joined by Archbishop Elpidophoros, who will be attending his first Epiphany celebration after being appointed as the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in June.
Both dignitaries are scheduled to speak at a dinner sponsored by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) the night of Jan. 5 at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.