Vatican lights Christmas tree from Ukraine

by OCP on December 18, 2011

in News


VATICAN CITY The Vatican on Friday lit its traditional St. Peter’s Square Christmas tree, which, this year, came as a gift from Ukraine.

Hundreds of bulbs glowed among the 2,500 silver-and gold-coloured baubles decorating the tree — a spruce from Ukraine’s southwestern Zakarpattia region.

The lighting ceremony was presided over by a delegation of Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox bishops.

Benedict, leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, described Ukraine — whose dominant religion is Orthodox Christianity — as having been “for centuries at the crossroads of different cultures, a meeting point for the spiritual richness of East and West.”

Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholic Christians split in 1054 — an event known as the Great Schism — but relations have improved in recent years with several meetings aimed at re-establishing unity.

Benedict’s predecessor, the Polish-born pope John Paul II, in 1982 introduced the northern and eastern European custom of Christmas trees to the Vatican.

McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers


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