UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS TREE IN ROME

16.12.11




 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Ukrainian pilgrims sang folk songs and carols and recalled the late Pope John Paul II's visit as the Vatican lit its Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square, a 25-meter (82-foot) pine from the Carpathian mountains.

The tree was decorated with 2,500 gold and silver balls and figures of animals and toys. The ceremony Friday evening included a folk choir with children carrying giant pinwheels, a Christmas tradition in Ukraine.

Polish-born Pope John Paul began the tradition of erecting a tall Christmas tree in the square in 1982; the Bavarian-born Pope Benedict XVI has continued it.

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, who served as a secretary to John Paul II before returning to his homeland of Ukraine, said that the tree was "to thank John Paul" for his 2001 visit.

 



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