Featured Church of Saint Martin of Aldoar

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Chris B, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    This medal is a little more modern than what I usually collect but the obverse imagery spoke to me. It was created to commemorate the expansion of a Catholic church in Portugal.

    Aldoar 03.jpg
    OBVERSE: Of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Conquest, War, Famine, and Death), War rides a red horse and wields a sword, shown here, ready to dispatch two lost souls. As told in the Book of Revelations 6:4, “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” This medal was designed and signed by Miguel T., unknown to me except for this medal.

    REVERSE: With a parish growing rapidly, the small Portuguese Church of Saint Martin of Aldoar (Igreja de Sao Martinho de Aldoar) dedicated the new Igreja Matriz de Aldoar in 1988, pictured on this medal’s reverse beneath a peacock in full display.

    Edge: 400-1000

    Diameter: 91mm
    Weight: 243.5g

    To me, it is surprising that such a large medal was struck by the church. It would have been quite an expense unless that had one or a couple of wealthy donors.

    From a Google translated article on Wikipedia:
    This temple was born out of the need for new prayer space in the parish, one that was bigger and better prepared than the original church, the Church of Vilarinha. It was designed by Alfredo Moreira da Silva, who designed a building in the shape of a tent, trying to convey to the faithful the idea of a space of welcome, meeting, passage, and communion, which welcomes them inside their canvas, which embraces them. The new church was inaugurated in 1988. It occupies 1200 square meters and can accommodate 560 people seated and another thousand standing. It cost 63,300 contos with 28,295 contos of state contribution.

    Four Horsemen.png
    Four horsemen, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1860

    The Four Horsemen are figures in Christian mythology, appearing in the New Testament's final book, Revelation, an apocalypse written by John of Patmos, as well as in the Old Testament's prophetic Book of Zechariah, and in the Book of Ezekiel, where they are named as punishments from God.

    Revelation 6 tells of a scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God/Lion of Judah opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. To Zechariah, they are described as "the ones whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth" causing it to rest quietly. Ezekiel lists them as "sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague."

    In John's revelation, the first horseman is on a white horse, carrying a bow, and given a crown, riding forward as a figure of Conquest, perhaps invoking Pestilence, Christ, or the Antichrist. The second carries a sword and rides a red horse and is the creator of War. The third is a food merchant riding upon a black horse, symbolizing Famine. The fourth and final horse is pale green, and upon it rides Death accompanied by Hades. "They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth."

    The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the Four Horsemen are to set a divine end time upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. That the number of horsemen is four is important: four is the number associated with creation, or the earth in the Book of Revelation.

    The rider of the red horse (depicted in this medal) is often taken to represent War or mass slaughter. His horse's color is red and in some translations, the color is specifically a "fiery" red. The color red, as well as the rider's possession of a great sword, suggests blood that is to be spilled. The sword held upward by the Horseman may represent war or a declaration of war, as seen in heraldry. In military symbolism, swords held upward, especially crossed swords held upward, signify war, and entering into battle.

    So, I really like the imagery on the medal but it makes me wonder something. You could say that it is a pretty dark image. Is that what they were going for?
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  3. goossen

    goossen Senior Member

    The topic of death, apocalypse, judgment day or whatever you call it, although dark, it’s very commonly depicted in churches and religious sites.
    It represents the mortal nature of the human being, nobody can escape from. And it’s also a reminder to remain faithful and live by God’s rules, so they can enjoy the heaven afterwards.

    Love the medal BTW, and I’m also impressed by its size. Do you know how many pieces were created?
    Chris B likes this.
  4. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I don't know but hopefully someone will come along that can answer that. My thought is that mintage can't be very high.

    Portugal is the source of many large medals in this time period. Many of them are very attractive and can be purchased for next to nothing.
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