radio officials told BosNewsLife. "The tree is about 25 metres (75 feet) tall and 8 metres (24 feet) wide," said news editor Linda Bordoni from her office in Vatican City.

She suggested that the huge tree stands next to the nativity scene on St. Peters square. This was the first time that Romania has given one of its largest trees to Pope John Paul II, which is seen as a sign of closer cooperation between the Vatican and the mainly Orthodox nation.  Last year’s tree was donated by Austria.

Although the Orthodox Church claims to represent at least 70 percent of over 22 million Romanians, relations with the Vatican improved since the Pope visited the Balkan country in 1999. It was the first time a Catholic Pontiff came to an Orthodox nation since the denominations split in 1054.


For many Romanians the Christmas Tree seems to symbolize the Biblical Paradise on earth in which Adam and Eve are said to have lived. Like Adam and Eve, who according to the Bible were expelled from the Paradise because of their sins, millions of impoverished Romanians are desperately looking for a better live.

Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase admitted to BosNewsLife in Budapest that one in three Romanians live below the poverty standard, which has been established at $40 a month. "However this is still better than some years ago when it was 46 percent," said Nastase, who survived a confidence vote Friday, December 21, before visiting the Hungarian Capital.


Romanian politicians and other leaders have suggested that the Christmas message of the Church is seen as beacon of hope by Romanians, to overcome the economic transition after decades of atheism.

"Following the collapse of Communism we had Wild Capitalism," suggested Prime Minister Nastase, who promised to tackle corruption, at a time when his country prepares to join NATO and the European Union.


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