Vatican lights up ‘international’ Christmas tree

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Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St Peter's square where a Christmas tree was installed on December 8, 2013 during his Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican. Picture: VINCENZO PINTO

Vatican City -

Pope Francis hailed the giant “international” Christmas tree lit up on St Peter's Square on Friday, which was transported to the Vatican from his predecessor Benedict XVI's homeland, the German state of Bavaria.

“This is an international tree! It grew near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic,” the pope said as he received a delegation of pilgrims from Bavaria.

He said that the gift reflected “the spiritual closeness and friendship that link the whole of Germany, and particularly Bavaria, to the Holy See”.

The 25-metre high pine is a gift from the town of Waldmuenchen and will stand next to a Nativity scene from Naples that will highlight the role of ordinary people in line with the pope's humble style. - Sapa-AFP

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