The dispute over whether or not to put saintly halos on the heads of Saints Cyril (Constantine) and Methodius on a commemorative EUR 2 coin, caused by the objections of certain member states, has been resolved with the National Bank of Slovakia ignoring the requests and opting for the ‘religious’ version.
In a statement today from the 37th meeting of the Bank Board of NBS chaired by NBS Governor Jozef Makúch, the Bank Board approved the original draft design for the €2 commemorative coin marking the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the mission of Constantine and Methodius to Great Moravia.
In its previous decision, the Bank Board approved modifications to the draft design on the basis of a recommendation made by the European Commission on 20 August 2012. The reversal of that decision is based on a change in the Commission’s position on this issue, communicated on 22 November 2012 by the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia.
In approving the original draft design, the Bank Board duly noted the risk that a new notification process may pose to its principal objective in this matter, i.e. to issue a coin for circulation throughout the euro area which brings to a wider European public the historical significance of the mission of Constantine and Methodius.
The NBS Bank Board had previously accepted the objections on the following grounds:
- not to accept the requests would jeopardise the principal objective of the coin, namely to increase awareness throughout the European Union of the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius;
- in other recent cases, similar requests for the modification of coin designs (in order to respect religious diversity) have been accepted;
- the Vatican, too, has in the past accepted requests for the modification of its €2 commemorative coin designs and it did so when the legal regulation of such designs was less strict (the law governing the designs of national sides of euro circulation coins has been significantly stricter since July 2012).
Národná banka Slovenska believes that the design finally approved for the €2 commemorative coin marking the arrival of the mission of Constantine and Methodius to Great Moravia represents a dignified joining of two symbols – the symbol of statehood and the symbol of Christianity. The Slovak double cross on three peaks and the bishop’s crozier held by Methodius are depicted as one and the same.