The mite is referred to in St Mark’s Gospel, verse 12, chapters 41-44, and installs in us the importance of giving. Having given all the wealth she had, Jesus praises a poor widow for her generosity, which appears more significant than the contribution made by richer men.
‘Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” ‘
The coins in question were most likely a lepton or prutach, the lowest denomination circulated during Christ’s lifetime.