On the 17th of December Pope Francis will celebrate his 80th birthday and he has already been given a special gift from Croatia.
Viktor and Sanda Jeromel, Slovenian spouses who have lived in Prezid, Cabar in the Croatian region of Gorski Kotar for thirty years, presented their unusual and special birthday gift to Pope Francis – the handmade wood-framed glasses made of a 1,600 years-old olive tree.
The married couple have manufactured sports equipment for a very long time, whilst Viktor is especially skilled in working with wood. Encouraged by his friend he came up with an idea of making wooden glasses and so far he has made a few hundred pieces at a local workshop.
''The whole time I thought how nice it would be to make wooden glasses for the Holy Father. I searched for the right material for a long time and I finally found it. We came across a broken branch of a 1,600 years-old olive tree on the island of Brijuni. The island's authority allowed me to take a small piece of the branch and this is how this story began'', explained Viktor.
''He was very persistent and he made these glasses with all his love and knowledge'', said his wife praising her husband.
At the Papal Audience on the 14th of December Viktor and Sanda Jeromel personally presented their gift to the Pope and congratulated him on his jubilee birthday.