Catholic And Orthodox Bishops Of Ukraine To Unveil Vatican Christmas Tree

For the first time, a Christmas tree from Ukraine will be installed in the Vatican. It will be delivered as a gift to Pope Benedict XVI from Transcarpathia, and trees for the Apostolic Palace will be delivered from the Lviv region.

Not only Ukrainian Catholic bishops of Latin and Byzantine rites but also representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will attend the unveiling of the Vatican Christmas Tree.

This agreement was reached on October 19, during a meeting between Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), head of the UGCC, and a representative of Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan), Archbishop Alexander (Drabynko), head of the Department for External Relations of the UOC.

“This is extremely important event because different countries have been waiting for years for this opportunity. For Ukraine it is another testament to its European roots and belonging to the family of European nations,” said the Patriarch Sviatoslav.

The tradition of installing Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican began late last century during the pontificate of John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI continued this tradition, which brings trees to the Vatican from around the world.

Last year, the 94-year-old Christmas spruce, which was 34 meters tall and weighed 5 tons, was delivered from the north Italian province of Alto Adige. The Vatican Christmas Tree has been brought from Austria, Germany, Belgium and elsewhere.

A nativity scene is usually installed near the tree, which the pope consecrates on Christmas Eve, December 24.

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