Vatican's Christmas Tree Lit

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican's tallest Christmas tree is twinkling in St. Peter's Square.

The Vatican says the 109-foot red spruce from Austria is the tallest since Pope John Paul II started the tradition of setting up a tree in the square in 1982.

Hundreds of pilgrims from Austria sang carols in the pouring rain Saturday as the tree was officially unveiled.

It's decorated with 2,000 gold and silver balls, white lights and a shining star. It stands next to a larger-than-life-sized Nativity scene which will be unveiled Christmas Eve.

Pope Benedict XVI met with the Austrian pilgrims Friday to thank them for the tree, saying it would give him joy to see it from his apartment window.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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