Christmas tree in St Peter's Square to be lit this evening

 This evening, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, will preside at the official lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree which has recently been erected in St Peter's Square. The tree stands next to the nativity scene, which is being constructed. The event, which is due to begin at 4pm, will be attended by civil and religious authorities from the region of Bolzano in northern Italy who donated this year's tree, a 140-year-old fir, 26 metres high, weighing more than three tons and decorated with 2,000 baubles. The nativity scene, which will be unveiled on Christmas Eve, has 17 life-size statues. Of these, nine are the original figures donated by St Vincent Pallotti for the nativity scene in the Roman church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in 1842. The other eight figures were added over the course of the years. As in 2006, the Italian province of Trento has provided further sculpted wooden figures and animals, as well as household utensils for the depiction of daily life. From December 19 to February 2, the Paul VI Hall will also be adorned with a tree and a nativity scene created by Mexican artists. The figures of the nativity scene are in the Novo Hispanic Baroque style, while the tree decorations are the work of Mexican traditional craftsmen. The nativity scene in St Peter's Square will also include four Mexican Baroque angels. This initiative, entitled "Mexican Christmas in the Vatican," has been organized to mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See. The display will be inaugurated by Benedict XVI on Wednesday, December 19. Source: VIS

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