SPIRITUAL LEADER OF 250 MILLION ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS TO PRESIDE AT 2006 EPIPHANY CELEBRATION IN TARPON SPRINGS, FL
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW ARRIVES JAN. 4TH FOR CENTENNIAL OF EPIPHANY EVENTS AND ST. NICHOLAS CATHEDRAL
Pastoral Visit To Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Orleans, January 7th
Oldest Greek Orthodox Community in the United States
New York, NY - Excitement is escalating in Tarpon Springs, Fl, known as the Epiphany City, for the anticipated arrival from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople on January 4th of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 250 million Orthodox Christians, who will preside over the centennial of the Epiphany celebration and of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
According to Archbishop Demetrios of America, His All Holiness will visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and specifically the Metropolis of Atlanta, headed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, from January 4-8, 2006. This will be the first time that an Ecumenical Patriarch visits the Tarpon Springs area for the multitude of festivities associated with the celebration of Epiphany.
Schedule of Events
His All Holiness will arrive at Clearwater/St. Petersburg International Airport on January 4th where he will be welcomed by Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Alexios and clergy and laity from the surrounding communities. A Doxology will follow immediately thereafter at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon Springs.
On Thursday, January 5th at 11:00, hundreds of young people from throughout the Metropolis of Atlanta will gather for a Patriarchal Celebration of Youth. Immediately following will be a Patriarchal Epiphany Centennial Clergy/Laity Luncheon.
The Epiphany Glendi (Festival) will begin following the Diving for the Cross on January 6 and continue until midnight Saturday, January 7. Held at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange, the Glendi transports all who attend into an authentic and exhilarating Greek street party, with everything Greek, from the food to live dancing.
In addition to the traditional events surrounding the Epiphany, renowned singer Mario Frangoulis will be performing at the Sun Dome in Tampa on Saturday, January 7 at 7:00 p.m. in honor of His All Holiness. The concert. will also include the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra with the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Children's Choir.
Sunday, January 8th His All Holiness will celebrate a Patriarchal Liturgy commemorating the Centennial of St. Nicholas Cathedral, followed by a Centennial Luncheon. He is scheduled to depart later that evening.
Celebration of Epiphany January 6
Epiphany commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Of all the observances of Epiphany (Theophany- manifestation of God) throughout the world, this is known to be exceedingly rich in religious tradition and significance and astonishingly festive within the Greek Orthodox Church. Nowhere does the observance take place on the scale witnessed in Tarpon Springs, which introduced the Greek Epiphany and its traditions to the American public 100 years ago. Hundreds of pennants float in the breeze, Greek and American flags fly everywhere, and lighted crosses decorate the lampposts lining the streets. On January 6, thousands of people, of every faith and denomination, from throughout the United States and Canada, will gather at the Tarpon Springs Bayou to witness the Blessing of the Water and the dive for the recovery of the cross by young men of the community.
St. Nicholas Cathedral Liturgy
Earlier, hundreds are expected to pack St. Nicholas Cathedral, for the Patriarchal Liturgy and Blessing of the Waters to be celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, assisted by Archbishop Demetrios of America, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, hierarchs and area clergy. Following the Blessing of the Waters, His All Holiness, hierarchs and clergy and the entire congregation will proceed out of the Church and through the streets of Tarpon Springs to the Spring Bayou where thousands will have gathered for the diving of the cross. His All Holiness will mount a platform where he will see some 50 Greek American young men males, ages 16-18, waiting in boats until the moment when the Patriarch will throw the Cross and they will dive into the Bayou waters as they vie to be the first to capture the coveted cross and the promise of happiness and success in the coming year. He will also receive a special blessing from His All Holiness and a prestigious trophy.
Pastoral Visit to New Orleans
On January 7th, His All Holiness will make a pastoral visit to Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans, the first Greek Orthodox community in the United States, now recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
For more information and a complete schedule of events of the 2006 Patriarchal Centennial Celebration, please visit http://patriarchalcentennialvisit.com
Media - To register and for a complete schedule of the 2006 Patriarchal Centennial Celebration, visit www.epiphany100.com/scheduleofevents