Benedict XVI gave the Bavarian crib.


The thoughtful gift brings a touch of home to the Pope Emeritus as he prepares to celebrate Christmas.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received a small nativity scene from his native Bavaria on December 8, 2021, the Diocese of Regensburg reported on its website the following day. A similar nativity scene was also given to Pope Francis.

December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the traditional date for the installation of Christmas decorations and nativity scenes in Italy. The large nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, originally from Peru this year, was unveiled on December 10.

To celebrate this “Nativity Scene”, a “Nativity Scene Pilgrimage” from Bavaria came to Rome this year, led by the Bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer.

The German prelate visited Rome’s most famous Bavarian, Benedict XVI, who lives in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the heart of the Vatican Gardens. After being received by his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, he presented the Pontiff Emeritus with a special gift: a crib.

The gift depicts a snowy Christmas scene, a deliberate reminder of the 265th Pope’s native Bavaria. The setting is simple: the Holy Family under a poor shelter, surrounded by a donkey and an ox. In thanks, the Pope Emeritus gave his blessing to the pilgrims.

A similar nativity scene was brought to Pope Francis but was not given to him directly. The gift was a way of thanking the Pope for his Apostolic Letter 2019 Admirabile signum, on cribs, in which he underlines the great spiritual value of this popular Christian tradition.

The pilgrims participated in the exhibition “100 Nativity scenes in the Vatican” which is being organized for the third consecutive year in the Vatican by the Holy See. This is an exhibition of nativity scenes from all over the world that pilgrims can visit under Bernini’s southern colonnade in St. Peter’s Square.


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