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Slovakian euros to do without halos

Eurozone member Slovakia will have to drop halos from new two-euro ($2.55) coins featuring the nation's patron saints, Cyril and Methodius following complaints from some EU countries.

The commemorative euro coins will be issued next year to mark the 1150th anniversary of arrival of the Byzantine brothers in what was then Great Moravia to spread Christianity among Slavs and translate the Bible to Old Slavonic.

They also persuaded the Pope Adrian II to approve the use of Old Slavonic in liturgy, bringing the religion closer to the people.

"The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religous neutrality," Jana Kovacova, spokeswoman for Slovakia's central bank, told AFP Monday.

"We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity," she added.

The coins will still bear the double cross, which is also featured in Slovakia's coat of arms.

A eurozone member since 2009, Slovakia is expected to post the 17-nation bloc's strongest growth this year with a 2.6 percent expansion in output, while the zone as a whole is tipped to contract by 0.4 percent.