Tree? Check. Vatican Gears Up for Christmas

Tree? Check. Vatican Gears Up for Christmas
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 10:11am

The Christmas season has officially begun at the Vatican with the arrival of a 25-meter (82-foot) pine from Ukraine.

Workers hoisted up the tree in St. Peter's Square Monday after it was cut down in a remote area of Ukraine's Carpathian mountains.

The tree will be decorated with 2,500 gold and silver balls and lit Dec. 16 at a ceremony attended by representatives of Ukraine's Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Ukraine's ambassador to the Holy See, Tetiana Izhevska, said Ukraine is proud to donate the tree since it's a "symbol of life, symbol of hope, symbol of unity and Christmas joy."

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

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