8 things you may not know about Epiphany

File photo 2015 Epiphany
File photo 2015 Epiphany

1) Most Epiphany cross retrievers have been Tarpon Springs residents. However, in 1936 Athanasios Anthanasioou from Sparta, Greece retrieved the cross. In 1937, Demetrios Psarakos was visiting from Long Island, NY and retrieved the cross.

2) The first observance of Epiphany in Tarpon Springs was celebrated in 1903 and was held in an Episcopal Church.

3) Most years, only one boy retrieves the cross. But three divers retrieved the cross in 1947 and four retrieved the cross in 2012.

4) Epiphany has become a family tradition for Congressman Gus Bilirakis’ family. The congressman participated in Epiphany as a teen. His son Teddy was a diver in 2013 and his niece Evelyn Bilirakis served as dove bearer in 2013.

5) In the late 1970s many people referred to Tarpon Springs as “Epiphany City”.

6) Bill Paskalakis made the wooden Epiphany cross each year. The Tarpon Springs native, who died in 2010, started making the crosses in 1970. He also dove for the cross as a teen.

7) Costas Tampikas served as Dove Bearer from 1920 to 1934. After that, a different Dove Bearer was selected each year.

8) Epiphany divers have to complete an in-depth application that includes; a copy of their birth certificate, baptism certificate, list of medications they’re taking, information about their swimming abilities, details about any past arrests or convictions, a certificate of good standing from their Parish, photo I.D., a $50 application fee, a 300 to 500 word essay explaining why they want to dive for the cross and what Epiphany and God means to them.

Some of this information was obtained from the Epiphany City website.

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