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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Family legacy lives on at Epiphany dive

Tarpon Springs, Florida -- The legacy of a Bay area grandfather who spent 40 years handcrafting the white cross that's used in the Epiphany celebration lives on. Now, his grandsons are proudly carrying on his family's legacy.

Each Epiphany ceremony is special but for 16-year-old Rhett Linton, who is a Tarpon Springs High schooler, that's an understatement.
The ceremony symbolizes the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Each year, thousands of Greek Orthodox Christians come to Tarpon Springs to witness the blessing of the cross.

As part of the ceremony, the wood, which is weighed-down by boring a hole and filling it with lead, is then tossed into the dark waters of the bayou. For 40 years, Linton's grandfather was the one who created the crosses used in the ceremony.

"It's a blessing to be out there - not just to catch it. Even when I was little he just stressed what an honor it was to be able to be this close to something like that - growing up for me it was just normal," says Rhett Linton.
Dozens of teenage boys dive in to retrieve the cross. Tradition has it that the one who finds it is blessed and this year Linton will be one of a group of more than 40 trying to pull it out of the murky cold water.



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