Mitsotakis Will Attend Tarpon Springs Epiphany, Cross Dive

(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Dimitris Papamitsos)

A day before a scheduled Jan. 7 meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is due to be the first of the country’s head of state to attend the famed Tarpon Springs, Florida Epiphany Celebration.

It will the 114th for the city that has a major Greek population, led by sponge divers who came from Kalymnos and Dodecanese islands, making the trade lucrative and an attraction as well for tourists to see.

Epiphany draws thousands every year to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ. The highlight is when dozens of teen boys dive into Spring Bayou to retrieve the coveted cross, The Tampa Bay Times reported of the event.

Mitsotakis, who was elected in July 7, 2019 snap elections, ousting the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, will be joined by Archbishop Elpidophoros, who will be attending his first Epiphany after being appointed in June as the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Both are scheduled to speak at a dinner the night of Jan. 5 at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor sponsored by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA,) the paper also reported.

About 450 people from across the country are scheduled to attend the event with the Prime Minister, said association President John Galanis. “He is coming to epiphany in our city,” Galanis said. “That is a big deal.”

There were no other details available, the paper as theThe Greek Consulate General in Tampa referred all questions about Mitsotakis’ visit to the Embassy of Greece in Washington D.C. There was no response there either.

Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos was out of the country and couldn’t be reached nor could other city officials, the paper added.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, will attend the dinner, his office said and it was reported that the state’s US Senators, Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, would also be there.

Local youth dancers will perform a special Cretan dance for the prime minister, who is from the Greek island of Crete. The idea is to “honor his heritage” as he honors Tarpon Springs with his visit, Galanis had also said.