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Pope unveils new-style nativity scene

Pope unveils new-style nativity scene
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) is welcomed by Vatican officials as he arrived for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on March 13, 2007. The meeting, the first between Benedict and Putin, is part of a visit that takes the Russian leader to Italy and Greece this week. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI revealed a new-style nativity scene in St. Peter's Square depicting Jesus' birth in Joseph's house.

The pope unveiled the scene, which is apparently based on St. Matthew's version of the nativity and does not include the stable and manger typically associated with nativity scenes, ANSA reported Tuesday. The ribbon on the scene was cut Monday.

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St. Matthew's version of Jesus' birth states Joseph took Mary into his house and that is where she gave birth. The version makes no mention of a journey to Bethlehem.

The pontiff recently spoke on the importance of nativity scenes and Christmas trees to the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.

''They are elements of that typical Christmas atmosphere which is part of the spiritual patrimony of our communities,'' he said. The pope said the items created a climate ''infused with religious feeling and family intimacy.''

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