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Ukrainian Catholics, Orthodox will join in delivering Vatican Christmas tree

Catholic World News - October 25, 2011

In a noteworthy ecumenical gesture, representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will join with their Catholic counterparts in delivering a Christmas tree to the Vatican.

Each year, the giant Christmas tree that is displayed in St. Peter's Square comes from a different European country. This year the tree will come from Ukraine.

After a meeting with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, a leading representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Alexander, announced that he would join in the trip to Rome for the ceremonial presentation of the tree.

The ecumenical gesture is particularly significant because the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church has been the focus of ecumenical tensions, with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian affiliate complaining about the vigorous Catholic presence there. Archbishop Alexander is the chief ecumenical officer of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated with the Moscow patriarchate.

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