Vatican gears up for Christmas
Vatican City - The Christmas season has officially begun at the Vatican with the arrival of a 25m pine tree from Ukraine.
Workers hoisted up the tree in St Peter's Square on 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 on December 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.