Baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph: every Christmas, nativity scenes can be seen across Europe.
And at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican, one hundred variations of this iconic scene are on show. While the display is an annual event, this year the aim is to send a sign of peace and hope for the people of Ukraine.
“The nativity is a sign of peace, and all of us looking at all the nativities that are present are called to be an instrument of peace,” said Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the organiser of the event.
The nativity scenes come from around the world, including countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, Congo and Ukraine.
One of the cribs, for example, shows Jesus in a structure reminiscent of the Azovstal steelworks factory in Mariupol. It sits next to a wooden nativity scene brought from a church in Kyiv.
And sitting at the entrance of the exhibit is a Christmas tree decorated with 440 white cloth angels, each representing a Ukrainian child that has died since the start of the war.
Other nativity scenes reflect on themes such as climate change and migration across the Mediterranean.
The 100 Nativity Scenes in the Vatican exhibition will remain in St. Peter’s Square until 8 January 2023.
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