THE 16 OTHER COUNTRIES which use the Eurozone have convinced Slovakia not to include halos on a depiction of its patron saints on a euro coin to be issued next year.
The commemorative €2 coin has been in the works for almost a decade, having been a popular entrant in a national poll for Slovakia to choose the designs of the coins it would use when it joined the single currency in 2009.
Though the design of Saints Cyril and Methodius did not make the final cut when the country’s eight coins were chosen, it remained a popular prospect and the Central Bank had planned to issue a commemorative coin next year to mark the 1150th anniversary of their arrival to spread Christianity among the Slavs.
The brothers are credited with translating the Bible into the old Slavonic language spoken by commoners of that era, and also persuaded then-Pope Adrian II to allow Masses to be given in Slavonic – bringing them closer to the people.
Though the original design of the coin featuring the brothers (pictured) did not include a halo, the National Bank of Slovakia had intended to include halos above the head of each saint to honour the specific event the coin was intended to commemorate.
However, citing religious neutrality – and the fact that the coins would be legal tender in all 17 Eurozone countries – the other countries have convinced Slovakia not to include a halo over the head of either saint.
“The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religious neutrality,” a bank spokeswoman told AFP.
“We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity,” she added.
The coins will still bear the double-cross motif which appears on Slovakia’s national coat of arms and which currently appears on the ‘national’ side of its euro coins.