Hungarian coins mark 1,700th anniversary of St Martin’s birth

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December 1, 2016 – To this day, St Martin stands as an example of goodwill, brotherly love, willingness to help those in need, solidarity and simplicity. His spiritual legacy spans nations and generations, and he remains one of Europe’s most revered saints. To mark the 1,700th anniversary of the birth of Saint Martin of Tours, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is issuing a 10,000-forint silver and a 2,000-forint non-ferrous collector coin.

Hungary / 10,000 HUF / Silver .925 / 24g / 37mm / Design: Ferenc Lebo / Mintage: 5,000.

The silver coin was designed by Ferenc Lebo. On the back, it depicts one of the saint’s most well-known deeds: Martin cutting his cloak in half, in the style of a stained-glass window. The front of the coin features the lamp hanger from Savaria, which can now be seen in the Savaria Museum in Szombathely.

Hungary / 2,000 HUF / Cupro-Nickel / 23.7g / 37mm / Design: Zoltan Toth/ Mintage: 10,000.

The non-ferrous coin is the work of Zoltan Toth: the front shows a detail from the façade of the church of St Martin in Szombathely and the back bears the figure of the healing saint.

St. Martin leaves the life of chivalry and renounces the army. Fresco by Simone Martini (c. 1284-1344).

Saint Martin of Tours

Saint Martin was born in 316 AD in the town of Savaria (present-day Szombathely) in the Roman province of Pannonia. His father served as an officer in a Roman legion, foreshadowing Martin’s career as a soldier. At the age of 12, he already considered becoming a Christian and living his life as a hermit, and then joined the Christian religion against the will of his parents. At the age of 15, he joined the army in accordance with his father’s wishes.

St Martin and the Christian faith

Accounts of his military service mention his humility and willingness to serve, earning him the respect of his comrades. He was baptised by the bishop Hilary of Poitiers while still a soldier. After leaving the military, he offered his service to the bishop and later returned to Savaria. He converted his mother to Christianity and, according to the legend, baptised her in the waters of the well in front of the Dominican church in Szombathely.

Martin considered his life’s main goal to be spreading the Christian faith, and he led the life of a monk and sometimes a hermit. He was elected bishop of Tours in 372. He was a humble bishop and led a simple life. Having served as bishop for 20 years, he died on 8 November 397 after performing many wonders and healing many through faith. He is buried in Tours, and his disciple Brictius had a chapel erected on his grave. Even during his life, Martin was particularly respected for his humble manners and simplicity. His biography was preserved for future generations by his contemporary Sulpicius Severus.

Please find more information on this and other releases on the website of the Hungarian Mint.

This is the official website of Szombathely.

Here you find information on the Saint Martin of Tours Route.

On YouTube, you can watch 2nd grade students perform at the Lantern Walk and tell the story of Saint Martin.

And this YouTube video shows the recent festivities in honor of St Martin at Tours.