The moment has arrived for the Christmas tree to be put up at the Vatican. It has just arrived after a 12-day and almost 1,245 mile trip across Europe. It is a gift from the Archdiocese of Elk in Poland and holds a special value for them: 20 years ago, another Polish tree was placed in St. Peter's Square, at the request of John Paul II.
Monika Rybka has been in charge of transporting the tree. She has experienced the process first-hand because she accompanied it in the truck.
Organizer of tree transport
'The last tree from Poland was here 20 years ago. This is after 20 years we again have our tree here. Our pope, John Paul II, started this tradition of bringing the Christmas tree here. That's why it's something special for us for sure.'
The spruce measures 92 feet high and weighs 7 tons. It comes from a leafy region known for its trees and lakes.
This year, it will be decorated by children from various hospitals through a rehabilitation project from the Lene Thun Foundation.
The tree is a Christmas symbol because it represents life that is born even in the cold of winter, but that is not its only meaning.
'It means the presence of the living Christ who is among us, who is born. The ornaments represent original sin and also capital sins. The lights represent the light of Christ, which illuminates our darkness, and our sins so that later they will not continue.'
The traditional Christmas tree is in the square, just in front of St. Peter's Basilica. Soon, an accompanying manger will also be installed in the coming days. Now the spruce looks like this, but from December seventh on, its lights and ornaments will shine in all their splendor.