98-foot Vatican Christmas tree arrives

Dec. 2, 2011 at 6:25 PM

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The Vatican said a Christmas tree -- a spruce donated by Ukraine and standing more than 98 feet tall -- arrived in St. Peter's Square Friday.

The tree, weighing nearly 5 tons, will be decorated with more than 2,500 gold and silver balls and more than 2,500 energy-efficient white and yellow lights, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

With help from a helicopter, the tree was cut down last week in Ukraine's southwestern region of Transcarpathia.

The tree is to be hoisted to its upright position beside the obelisk in St. Peter's Square Monday. A lighting ceremony, to be attended by a representative from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is scheduled for Dec. 16.

ANSA said it's considered an honor to donate a Christmas tree to the Vatican, and this marks the first time a former Soviet country has donated the tree since Pope John Paul II began the Vatican Christmas tree tradition in 1982.

European countries including Romania, Austria and the Czech Republic have donated trees in recent years.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Topics: Christmas
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
North Korea blasts arrival of U.S. submarine in South Korean port
U.S. lottery lowers portion of cash allocated to jackpot prize
F-16, Cessna planes collide midair in South Carolina, killing two
Colorado court to hear baker's appeal over gay wedding cake
Dylan Roof indicted on nine murder charges