Ukraine gives Vatican a Christmas tree

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2011 2:50 PM
Ukraine gives Vatican a Christmas tree

The Vatican says Ukraine has donated a "majestic" Christmas tree to decorate St. Peter's Square.

The 30-meter (100-foot) high tree will be lit during a ceremony on Dec. 16 attended by prelates from both the Catholic and Orthodox churches in Ukraine. The Vatican says their presence will lend "ecumenical significance to the joy of the approaching Nativity."

Polish-born John Paul II started the tradition of erecting a tall Christmas tree in the square in 1982.

The Vatican's calendar of December ceremonies, released on Friday, says Pope Benedict XVI will preside over Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 24 and give traditional greetings from the basilica's balcony on Christmas Day.