The 30 meter high Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican is to disappear.
The 30 meter high Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican is festively decorated. The fir tree was set up on December 4th and should remain there until January 7th. But now the tree has to disappear prematurely, as reported by the KathPress news agency.
The reason for this: The fir blocks the view of the funeral service for the late Pope Benedict XVI. († 95), which is scheduled to take place on Thursday. Since media companies pay a good amount of money for a seat in St. Peter’s Square, nobody wants to have their view blocked because of the Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree caused problems right from the start. With the silver fir that was originally intended, there were problems with nature conservation and a replacement tree had to be organised.
Burial in the crypt
It is unclear how long the fir can remain standing. The earliest the tree can be removed is Thursday morning, as thousands of people will line up to say goodbye to the Pope’s body by Wednesday evening. After the funeral service, Benedict XVI. buried in the crypt under St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican – in the former grave of his predecessor John Paul II († 84), who died in 2005.
The crypt is also known as the Vatican Grottoes. It lies under the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and a total of 62 popes are buried in it. After his beatification in 2011, the coffin with the body of John Paul II was moved to the St. Sebastian chapel in the side aisle of the cathedral.
A crypt is a subterranean vault of a church, which usually contains a burial complex and is located under the main altar or the eastern end of the church. The first Christians buried their dead in catacombs, and in the early Middle Ages churches were often built over the graves of martyrs or founders of religious orders. Only later did ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries find their last resting place in crypts. (lrc/AFP)