Vatican City

Benedict kicks off 8th Christmas as pope

Lights up Nativity scene in St Peter's

Benedict kicks off 8th Christmas as pope

Vatican City, December 24 - Benedict XVI kicked off his eighth Christmas since being elected pope by unveiling the Nativity scene in Saint Peter's Square on Christmas Eve. The German pontiff turned on the 'light of peace' on this year's creche from the window of his apartment in the Vatican shortly after it was uncovered to the public for the first time on Monday afternoon. This will be followed by the 85-year-old's Christmas Eve Mass, which will be celebrated in St Peter's Basilica, starting at 10pm. On Christmas Day at noon he will deliver his Christmas message and impart the 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the City of Rome and the world) blessing from the central balcony of St Peter's. The ceremony and message is a central feature of Christmas for the 1.1 billion Catholics around the world. The pope will give the message in 65 languages.

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