The tiny principality of Andorra, between France and Spain, has as its co-princes the leader of France (currently, the President of the Republic) and the Bishop of Urgell, Catalonia, Spain.
Since the introduction of the Euro, being surrounded by two euro nations, the Principality, though not a member of the European Union, decided to adopt the currency - as the Vatican, Monaco, and San Marino also did. As these other small states, it can mint some coins.
One of its most celebrated artistic works, the Christ Pantocrator of the Romanesque church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada, had been chosen as one of the images of a new coin.
That was too much for the European Union and the European Central Bank, that ordered Christ removed from the coin. It could not even remain as an iconic work of art of an area that was historically poor and treasured its few artistic relics from the past - no, imagery that can be considered offensive to the "principle of neutrality in the matter of religious beliefs" is to be removed. It does not matter, apparently, that the image is in the heart of the self-understanding of a people, and of all peoples of Europe. Now, just a bell tower will remain; bell towers are probably not religious enough... The tiny nation that has a Bishop as one of its heads of State could not resist the orders, as Slovakia successfully did in defense of the sainthood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in a commemorative coin.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
From ABC, in Spanish via Rorate Caeli (August 18, 2013):