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Epiphany: 4 teens now named cross retrievers | News

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Epiphany: 4 teens now named cross retrievers
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Tarpon Springs, Florida -- If  it seemed strange that three young men earned blessings by retrieving the cross at Tarpon Springs' Epiphany celebration, the story gets even stranger.  Now a fourth teen has been named a 2012 cross retriever.

Officials from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral has announced that 16-year-old Alexi Lake from Gulf High School in New Port Richey joins 17-year-old cousins Miros Petru and Louis Mailisand and Jared Alissandratos--all of whom attend Tarpon  Springs High School.

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

This is just the latest twist in an odd Epiphany celebration.  Archbishop Demetrios had to toss two wooden crosses into the bayou when the first wasn't found.

Church officials watched videos and photos from the event showing that Lake lifted one of the crosses with both hands until he was pulled beneath the water.

"We do not want everyone to think we investigated all these films and pictures," said Rev. Fr. Michael Eaccarino. "This isn't a court of law. We took what we saw, what everyone saw, what people shared with us. We made the decision in consensus and at the direction of our spiritual leader, our Archbishop, that this would be the best way to honor the boys."

This is the first time in the event's 102-year history that four young men habe been declared cross retrievers. Whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed with a year of blessings.

"Please keep in mind, the true meaning of Theophany is not about who got the cross," Eaccarino continued. "The diver for the cross recreates the baptism of Jesus Christ. The dive is a cumination of church services commemorating this glorious occurrence in our faith."

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