Vatican coins illustrate war against Ukraine, importance of vaccines

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This is the rear of a silver medal released by the Vatican to raise money for charity in Ukraine. Above the woman and two children is the word "peace" in Latin and Cyrillic. (CNS photo/Vatican stamp and coin office)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican stamp and coin office has released several commemorative coins, including one promoting the importance of vaccinations and a silver medal for peace in Ukraine; proceeds from sales of the medal will be used to help victims of the war.

The Philatelic and Numismatic Office said in a press release in mid-May that issuing an official medal dedicated to peace in Ukraine was “a way to join calls for a halt to weapons and a return to dialogue.”

One side of the medal depicts a family fleeing from a city destroyed by bombs with their entire lives in a suitcase; a child cares a soft toy as the family is “guided by a young mother who is walking toward us reminding us of our duty to welcome and show solidarity.” At the top, the word, “peace,” is written in Latin and Cyrillic, the office said.

The other side depicts a dove of peace with an olive branch above Pope Francis’ name and coat of arms, as well as part of a special prayer he recited during his general audience March 16 imploring God to forgive humanity for waging war, especially the war in Ukraine.

The excerpt in Italian reads: “Lord Jesus, born under bombs falling on Kyiv, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, a 20-year-old sent to the front lines, have mercy on us.”

All proceeds from the sales of the 50-euro ($53) medal “will be donated to the Holy Father for charitable work in favor of the Ukrainian people.”

The office also released May 20 a commemorative coin series that includes a 20-euro silver coin “dedicated to a current theme that is very close to Pope Francis’ heart: treatments to counter the pandemic and (promoting) the need to be vaccinated,” the Vatican office said.

The silver coin “depicts a doctor, a nurse and a young person who is ready to receive the vaccine,” it said. “The Holy Father has repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination, recalling that health care is ‘a moral obligation,’ and it is important to ‘continue efforts to immunize even the poorest people.'”

The euro-coin set also includes coins of the eight different denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, €1 and €2, with one side that is common to all countries participating in the single European currency and the other side representing the issuing country of Vatican City State with Pope Francis’ coat of arms.

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service has reported from the Vatican since the founding of its Rome bureau in 1950.