On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 theses for disputation to the door of a church in the German town of Wittenberg, challenging the position of the Catholic Church on the forgiveness of sins. The theses claimed that it was not the Pope, but God alone who could forgive sins, based on the repentance of the sinner, and accordingly Luther’s theses condemned the practice of selling indulgences. This act initiated the great movement of the Reformation, which spread very quickly and enjoyed mounting support in society.
In the mid-16th century, the Reformation also began to spread in Hungary, contributing greatly to the development of Hungarian language and literature, as one of the fundamental ideas was that everyone should have access to the Bible in their native language. As a result of the Reformation, new centres of culture developed. The first, full Hungarian version of the Bible, the fruits of Gáspár Károli’s translation work, was printed in Vizsoly.
The Reformed Church was the most influential branch of Protestantism in Hungary, but the Lutheran Church and the Unitarian Church also had significant impacts on Hungarian cultural history.
Marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (National Bank of Hungary) is issuing a 10,000-forint silver and a 2,000-forint non-ferrous commemorative coin.
The obverse of the coin depicts the façade of a church with open gates, symbolizing that the Reformation brought people closer to religion, as the word of God was preached in the local languages, rather than only in the Latin Mass. The robust walls of the church allude to the Protestant hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” which was composed by Martin Luther. The image of a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, appears in the window of the church. The rays emanating from the open gates symbolize the Holy Spirit flowing out.
The reverse of the coin shows an open Bible, with the Greek letters alpha on the left and omega on the right, standing for the beginning and the end. The Reformation sharpened the focus on the Holy Scriptures as the one true source. Above the Bible, the form of a dove can be seen in a window, as the Bible can only be understood with the help of the Holy Spirit. The legend “500th Anniversary of the Reformation” is at the bottom of the ribbon-like bookmark, also indicating that the process has not ended and that reformation and renewal is always needed. The mark of the sculptor, Róbert Csíkszentmihályi, is on the other end of the ribbon.
500th Anniversary of the Reformation
Designer: Borbála SZANYI
Diameter: 38.61 mm, edge: milled
Weight: 30.8 g
Maximum Mintage: 5,000 pcs BU