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From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Wed, 04 Dec 2002 16:11:17 -0800

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December 03, 2002


New York, NY -- EPIPHANY: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, a special production of
Greek Orthodox Telecommunications (GOTelecom) with the National Council of
Churches and the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, will be available for
broadcast throughout the country at the discretion of local NBC affiliates
between Christmas and the end of January 2003.	The program will also be
broadcast nationally on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, January 5, 2003 at
6:00am Eastern and Pacific Time, 5:00am Central Time. (To review a complete
listing of affiliates, please visit  Major
underwriting for this program is being provided by the Archbishop Iakovos
Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.	Additional funding is being provided by
Faith and Values Media.

Epiphany or Theophany (the manifestation of God) commemorates the baptism
of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Of all the
observances of Epiphany throughout the world, none is more deeply religious
in tradition and significance or more colorful, than in the Greek Orthodox
Church; and nowhere does the observance take place on the scale witnessed
in Tarpon Springs, Florida, the place where Greek Epiphany and its
traditions were introduced to America over 100 years ago.

This one-hour production presents the timeless truths of Orthodox
Christianity as it tells the story of the celebration of Epiphany in Tarpon
Springs, reaches back in time with an overview of Orthodox faith and
traditions, and seeks to foster an understanding of the true personal and
universal meaning of Epiphany.	The program includes contemporary location
footage and archival still photos to illustrate and bring to life
interviews from several noted Orthodox theologians and scholars led by His
Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in

Program Overview

Entering Tarpon Springs, normally a city of 35,000, is like entering a
small part of Greece, especially on January 6 when Epiphany is celebrated
with great joy and pageantry. Hundreds of pennants float in the breeze;
American and Greek flags fly everywhere. Thousands of people from every
faith and denomination, from practically every state in the country come to
witness the impressive ceremony, which begins at St. Nicholas Cathedral, an
exquisite Byzantine structure.

As the Liturgy continues, interview comments present the Orthodox meaning
of Epiphany and baptism, including the ecological and social implications
of the blessing of the waters. Visuals include historic sites in Israel,
the place of the life and ministry of Christ, and iconography related to
His baptism. Further comments reflect on these places and events and relate
them to the celebration of Epiphany and to Orthodox faith and practice.

Following the Divine Liturgy and blessing of the waters, Archbishop
Demetrios, hierarchs, clergy, dignitaries and thousands of people form an
impressive procession to Spring Bayou, with school children in traditional
costumes, choir members, Greek Folk dance groups from throughout the United
States and Canada, civic officials and representatives of Hellenic
organizations. There, an invocation is recited, a young lady releases a
white dove to fly over the Bayou, and the Archbishop casts a white cross
into the water.  Some fifty young men dive for the cross, each seeking the
honor of retrieving it.  The winner then kneels with the cross before the
Archbishop for a blessing.

Viewers will see joyful images of the Epiphany celebration, while comments
will emphasize that our lives are illuminated by the Light of Christ, a
light that leads all of us to offer our faith and our service to others.

Annual Program of the NCCC

Every year the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
selects a faith group to produce a special program for NBC television
stations to air during the holiday season. Epiphany: The Festival of Lights
is being offered to NBC affiliated and NBC owned and operated stations
throughout the country. The scheduling of this type of program is dependent
upon each affiliate's recognition of viewer interest. To help with
scheduling the Epiphany special in your area, contact your local NBC
station and ask them to air this holiday program on their station anytime
between December 25 and the end of January.

Epiphany: The Festival of Lights is available for purchase beginning on
January 2, 2003.  To order by mail send $25 plus $6 shipping and handling
to GOTelecom, 8 East 79th Street, NY, NY 10021, or call (212) 570-3588.

For more specific information and for a viewing schedule, contact Marissa
Costidis, Managing Director of GOTelecom at (212) 570-3588 or email at

To find areas carrying the program log on to
Send an email to:

In the body of the email simply type:
signoff archdiocese

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