The Archbishop of Colombo has told priests not to put up Christmas trees in churches because he says it detracts from the true meaning of the celebration.
According to the Colombo Telegraph, His Eminence Malcolm Ranjith initially issued the ban in a private letter to priests in his archdiocese
This which was then published by one of them in the official church newspaper.
It is unknown whether the letter was purposely or mistakenly published publically.
A photograph acquired by the newspaper shows the notice in the church newspaper which says:
* Christmas concerts are not permitted inside the Churches
* Avoid putting up Christmas trees inside the Churches
It then reads: "These do not comply to the sacred significance of Christmas but are more connected to social and family celebrations of Christmas."
Revd Ignatius Varnakulasingam, a priest in Colombo, told the BBC: "The Christmas tree is not a liturgical symbol.
"Even in the Vatican the Christmas tree is put in Vatican Square outside the church.
"[It is] sad to say now in the USA they don't say 'happy Christmas', but 'happy holidays'."
When questioned if the Church was taking the fun out of Christmas, Revd Varnakulasingam said: "I understand that also. There should be happiness."
A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference
In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.
Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.
For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.
Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.