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50 Korun 1997, Czech Republic

in Krause book Number: 17
Years of issue: 18.03.1997
Edition: --
Signatures: Czernik: Josef Tošovský (20.1.1993 – 17.12.1997)
Serie: 1997 issue
Specimen of: 18.03.1997
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 134 х 64
Printer: STC-Prague. Statni Tiskarna Cenin, Praha

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

50 Korun 1997

Description

Watermark:

50 Korun 1997 50 Korun 1997Portrait of The Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Svatá Anežka Česká) with crown (please, read obverse description).

Today, to the Czech royal regalia belongs the crown of St. Wenceslas, made in 1387, commissioned by Charles the Fourth. The largest stone decorating this crown, in fact, not a ruby, as was thought before, but a red mud - red tourmaline. The crown is crowned with four lilies, also decorated with precious stones, in the middle there is a golden cross, inside of which is embedded a sapphire cross with an engraved crucifix. In the engraving is embedded a sliver of the crown of Christ, which was kept by the French kings.

It is believed that the sapphire cross could belong to an old crown of the XIII century, according to tradition, sold by the father of Charles the Fourth (which is shown in the Saint Agnes of the Czech - The Saint Agnes of Bohemia).

Avers:

50 Korun 1997

50 Korun 1997 50 Korun 1997On banklnote is The Saint Agnes of Bohemia. Left of her portrait is the stylized heart with a tear in the middle, as a symbol of devotion and love of The Saint Agnes of Bohemia, who dedicated his whole life caring for the sick and the poor.

Agnes of Bohemia (Czech: Svatá Anežka Česká, 20 June 1211 – 2 March 1282), also known as Agnes of Prague, was a medieval Bohemian princess who opted for a life of charity, mortification of the flesh and piety over a life of luxury and comfort. Although she was venerated soon after her death, Agnes was not beatified or canonized for over 700 years.

Agnes was the daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia, making her a descendant of Saint Ludmila and Saint Wenceslaus, patron saints of Bohemia. Agnes' mother was Constance of Hungary, who was the sister of King Andrew II of Hungary, so Agnes was a first cousin to St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

When she was three years old, Agnes was entrusted to the care of another aunt, St. Hedwig of Andechs, the wife of Duke Henry I the Bearded of Silesia. Hedwig placed her to be educated by a community of Cistercian nuns in a monastery which she herself had founded in Trzebnica. Upon her return to Prague, Agnes was entrusted to a priory of Premonstratensian Canonesses to continue her education.

At the age of eight, Agnes was betrothed to Henry, son of the Emperor Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry was ten years old and had just been crowned King of Germany.[5] According to custom, Agnes should have spent her childhood at her future husband's court. Emperor Frederick, King of Sicily, had his court in Palermo, but his son Henry, King of Germany, lived in Germany at the palace of Archbishop Engelbert in Cologne.

Agnes was sent to the court of Duke Leopold VI of Babenberg. Leopold, however, wanted the young Henry to marry his own daughter, Margaret. After being betrothed for six years, Henry and Agnes's betrothal contract was cancelled. Like other noble women of her time, Agnes was a valuable political pawn. In 1226, Agnes's father Ottokar went to war against the Babenbergs as a result of the canceled betrothal. Ottokar then planned for Agnes to marry Henry III of England, but this was vetoed by the Emperor, who wanted to marry Agnes himself.

Agnes refused to play any more part in a politically arranged marriage. She decided to devote her life to prayer and spiritual works, for which she sought the help of Pope Gregory IX.

Agnes built a monastery and friary complex attached to the hospital. It housed the Franciscan friars and the Poor Clare nuns who worked at the hospital. This religious complex was one of the first Gothic buildings in Prague. In 1235 Agnes gave the property of the Teutonic Knights in Bohemia to the hospital. She herself became a member of the Franciscan Poor Clares in 1236.

As a nun, she cooked for and took care of the lepers and paupers personally, even after becoming abbess of the Prague Clares the following year. As can be seen in their correspondence, Clare wrote with deep maternal feelings toward Agnes, though they never met.

A lay group working at the hospital was organized by Agnes in 1238 as a new military Order, dedicated primarily to nursing, known as the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, following the Rule of St. Augustine. That next year, Agnes handed over all authority over the hospital she had founded to these monastic Knights. They were recognized as an Order by Pope Gregory IX in 1252.

Agnes lived out her life in the cloister, leading the monastery as abbess, until her death on 2 March 1282.

The Monastery of the Holy Savior, renamed the Monastery of St. Agnes, (Czech: Klášter sv. Anežky) began to fall into decline after the Hussite Wars of the XV century. The community was abolished in 1782. Restored in the 1960s, the monastery is now a branch of the National Gallery in Prague, featuring the medieval Central European and Bohemian collection.

In 1874, Pope Pius IX had Agnes beatified. Pope John Paul II canonized Blessed Agnes 12 November 1989. While she was known by her contemporaries because of her supposed visions and healing, such as her prophecy that King Wenceslaus would be victorious in his battle against the Austrians, her canonization was based on her practice of the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity to an extraordinary degree, and the Church's view is confirmed either through a miracle granted by God in answer to the saint's prayers or, as in this case, by the continuing devotion of the Christian faithful to a Saint's example across centuries.

In top right corner are 3 Braille dots for visually impaired.

Denominations in numerals are in top left corner and on the right side. Centered are in words and in numeral.

Revers:

50 Korun 1997

On banknote is the large ornate Gothic letter "A" with a crown, symbolizing the royal origin of Saint Agnes of Bohemia.

Inside this letter are 2 portraits:

On top - Saint Francis of Assisi (Sv. František), after him named the oldest church of the complex of the convent of Saint Agnes, founded by Saint Agnes of Bohemia.

Lower - Saint Clare of Assisi. On land donated by her brother, Wenceslaus I, King of Bohemia, Saint Agnes of Bohemia founded the Hospital of St. Francis (ca. 1232-1233) and two friaries for the Franciscan friars, who had just come to Bohemia at her brother's invitation. Through them Agnes learned of Clare of Assisi and her Order of Poor Ladies, the monastic counterpart of the friars. She began a correspondence with Clare (which lasted for over two decades), which led to Clare's sending five nuns from the monastery in Assisi to Prague to begin a new house of the Order. This was the first Poor Clare community north of the Alps.

50 Korun 1997Saint Francis of Assisi (Italian: San Francesco d'Assisi), born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis on 16 July 1228. Along with Saint Catherine of Siena, he was designated Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October.

50 Korun 1997Saint Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253, born Chiara Offreduccio and sometimes spelled Clair, Claire, etc.) is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.

50 Korun 1997On background is the dome of the Church of Saint Salvator (Klehba kostela Salvatora).

Přemyslid dynasty mausoleum has huge significance and its architectural quality is higher than in other parts of the convent of Saint Agnes in Prague. A nave with two bays of groin vault and a pentagonal end was done by an unknown French master. There was also a crypt within the mausoleum. It had pentagonal end, barrel vault and a staircase by the southern wall.[8] The nave is connected with the chapel of Virgin Mary by a triumphal arch, which was built after the church was finished. Instead of capitals, heads of five Bohemian rulers and their wives are used. Agnes is portrayed on a capital just above the altar. The triumphal arch was constructed in the Golden section, using the 1:√2 ratio. Inner geometrical structure then defined significant places and was visible mainly on a 3D decor. For example, the heads instead of capitals are placed on the archivolt of the triumphal arch and also on the top of the Golden ratio square. The church being dedicated to Christ the Redeemer is an attempt of the Přemyslid dynasty to support the power of its own kin and a follow up of Carolingian Renaissance. Likewise, a picture of the ruler is placed above the entrance opposite to the altar (in the same height as Jesus). In the middle of the end a place for the ruler’s gravestone is left. Few symbols of Christ’s resurrection could be found: five-pointed stars in traceries of windows in the end or lilies with five leaves under Agnes‘ portrait. The whole space is decorated with frescos of Christ’s life. These have, however, survived only in fragments.

50 Korun 1997 50 Korun 1997The convent of Saint Agnes is situated on the right bank of Vltava, in Prague Old Town area called „Na Františku“. The monastery of Poor Clares of the Order of Saint Clare and Franciscans was founded in 1231 by Agnes of Bohemia, who also became the abbess of the convent.

Anges of Bohemia was the youngest daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia and was raised in a convent in Slezská Třebnice and Doksany. This certainly had an influence on her later decision to become a nun and on her desire for education. While she was living with the Babenbergs in Vienna after being engaged to Henry VII of Germany, the son of the German emperor, she became familiar with early Gothic architecture. For six years she was living in the convent in Klosterneuburg, but after their engagement was cancelled, Agnes moved back to Prague. After her return, Anges was again under the influence of her father’s marriage policy and she got a marriage offer from Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. However, after her father’s death, Agnes used her newly gained freedom of choice and decided to establish a convent. Agnes was supported by the Pope and her family and via her convent she engaged Bohemia into the latest cleric and cultural flow.

Centered, a little to the right side, is Czech coat of arms.

coat

The coat of arms of the Czech Republic (Státní znak České republiky) displays the three historical regions - the Czech lands - which make up the nation: Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.

The arms of Bohemia show a silver double-tailed lion on a red background. This Bohemian Lion makes up the first and the fourth quarters of the greater coat of arms, so it is repeated in the shield. The Moravian red-and-silver chequered eagle is shown on a blue background. Since the days of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918, the Moravian Eagle was chequered in the red-and-gold colours of the Habsburg dynasty. The arms of Silesia are a black eagle with the so-called "clover stalk" in her breast on a golden background, although only a small south-eastern part of the historical region (Czech Silesia) belongs to the Czech Republic.

The history of the Czech coat of arms dates back to the XIII century, when the Bohemian Lion, a meed by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to King Vladislaus II of Bohemia, appeared on the seal of his Přemyslid descendant King Ottokar II (1253-1278). The Moravian Eagle was first documented on the seal of Ottokar's uncle, Margrave Přemysl (d. 1239). The shields also appeared on the coat of arms of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown established by Emperor Charles IV. The Silesian Eagle stems from the ruling dynasty of the Piasts and was first applied by Duke Henry II the Pious (1238-1241).

In lower right corner is, again, the stylized heart as symbol of graciousness.

Denominations in numerals are in top right and lower left corners.

Comments:

Designer: Oldrich Kulhanek.

Obverse engraver: M. Ondracek.

Reverse engraver: Vaclav Fajt.

Prefixes Series: С, D. E.