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Two crosses thrown in Epiphany celebration | News

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Two crosses thrown in Epiphany celebration
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Tarpon Springs, Florida -- For the first time in nearly 40 years, two crosses were thrown into Spring Bayou during Friday's Epiphany cross dive.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Epiphany Celebration pictures
More pictures: 2011 Epiphany Celebration

And, after some boys spent more than 15 minutes searching the frigid water -- three young men will be blessed for the year to come.

The first cross was cast into the dark water and after more than five minutes of frantic swimming, the cross still had not been found. So the leader of the ceremony surprised the crowd of thousands and cast a second cross into the water near the swimmers.

Church records online show the last time a second cross was tossed in to replace one that couldn't be found was 1974.

See Also: The Epiphany Cross tradition

Back then, both crosses were eventually recovered. And the same thing happened today.

The second cross was quickly found, gripped by two retrievers who were carried away on the backs of their friends in celebration. But a group of a dozen swimmers stayed in the 60-degree water for more than 15 minutes.

Gasping and exhausted, they dove again and again into the dark water -- about as deep as a swimming pool.

Finally, the white cross broke the surface, held high in a swimmer's hand. He, too, was carried away in celebration, and all three are said to be blessed for the year to come.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church say Louis Mailisand and Jared Alissandratos were the boys to recover the second cross, while Miros Petru came up with the original cross after much searching.

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