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Slovak Post's Žilina Synod stamp voted Europe’s best

A SLOVAK stamp depicting the Žilina Synod was named grand champion in a competition to find the most beautiful engraved postage stamp issued in the European Union – the Grand Prix de’l Art Philatique. The stamp was issued last year for the synod’s 400th anniversary celebration. A jury of experts chose the Slovak stamp from among 138 submissions at the competition in Brussels on April 29. Second place went to a Spanish stamp while an Italian stamp took third place.

The winner.(Source: Courtesy of Slovak Post)

A SLOVAK stamp depicting the Žilina Synod was named grand champion in a competition to find the most beautiful engraved postage stamp issued in the European Union – the Grand Prix de’l Art Philatique. The stamp was issued last year for the synod’s 400th anniversary celebration. A jury of experts chose the Slovak stamp from among 138 submissions at the competition in Brussels on April 29. Second place went to a Spanish stamp while an Italian stamp took third place.

The Žilina Synod postage stamp has a nominal value of €1.10 and 85,000 were issued, the TASR newswire wrote. Its design depicts 17th century life – as the meeting of the Žilina Synod took place in 1610 under the auspices of the Hungarian Palatine, Count Juraj Turzo of Betlanovce, who was a proponent of reform within the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession.

The stamp shows the image of a painting that Turzo commissioned for his castle’s chapel in Orava; the painting is currently housed in an Evangelical church in Necpaly. A unique late-Renaissance altar in that church in Necpaly, called Speculum Justifications, dates back to 1611 and was painted by Paul Juvenel Sr based on an older graphic designed by Nuremberg engraver Jost Amman. The complicated composition visualises key issues of faith, including interpreting a sinner being excused in God’s eyes as viewed by the Augsburg Evangelical church.

The stamp’s engraver, Martin Činovský, told a press conference on May 16 that his engraving task was quite difficult. “This was joint work with Dušan Kállay, who designed the artistic form of the altar painting. When I first saw the design, I got scared as I had never done such a detailed engraving in my 20 years of work. It took me several months – I had to squeeze six to eight lines in every single millimetre,” Činovský said.He added that this type of hand-made stamp, unlike off-set stamps or other printed ones, is impossible to counterfeit.

Kállay said the stamp is a small but monumental piece of art in which the engraver could not make any mistakes. “I chose an altar painting with numerous details. There are almost 40 figures and also a period depiction of Žilina. I have to appreciate the excellent engraving by Martin Činovský,” Kállay stated. Art historian Ľuboslav Moza told TASR that the stamp is not just a personal artistic success for Činovský and Kállay but also for Slovak culture as it confirms the high level of the country’s stamp production.

The Žilina Synod was held between March 28 and 30 in 1610, the Sme daily wrote. It was the first synod of the Evangelical Church on the territory of today’s Slovakia and the gathering passed the first laws that created an independent religious organisation of Evangelical Protestants in Upper Hungary while at the same time it was the first institutionalised acknowledgement of the Slovak character of this part of Greater Hungary, Sme wrote, noting that for this reason it was a crucial milestone for Slovaks.


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