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Jesus misspelled on Vatican medallions

Special coins minted to commemorate the inauguration of Pope Francis accidentally misspelled Jesus as "lesus."
By Gabrielle Levy   |   Updated Oct. 11, 2013 at 2:16 PM

(UPI) -- The Vatican had to recall 6,000 special medals meant to commemorate the inauguration of Pope Francis after a typo was discovered on the coin, misspelling Jesvs as "Lesvs."

Although the coins went on sale Tuesday, the error was almost immediately discovered and the coins were pulled off shelves.

Though the 'u' is purposefully a 'v' character in the Latin, the coins were meant use a 'J' for familiarity even though the letter is also a later addition to the Latin alphabet.

The mint made 200 gold coins, 3,000 silver and 3,000 in bronze, and were briefly on sale at the Vatican Publishing House in St. Peter's Square, until they were recalled.

Still four of the coins, which were specially made by the Italian State Mint, were sold before the error was noted. Experts predict those four coins will become very valuable, because they are so rare.

The medals depict the pope, with a Latin phrase stamped around the edge of the coin, which was supposed to read "Vidit ergo Jesvs pvblicanvm et quia miserando atqve eligendo vidit, ait illi seqvere me."

That phrase, which is said to have inspired a young Jorge Bergoglio to become a Jesuit priest, means "Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, 'follow me'." Part of the passage, with comes from Homily 21, is also on the pope's coat of arms.


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