Swiss court wipes slate clean on ancient farm debt
Jan 08 2013
GENEVA (AP) — A Swiss court has wiped out an annual debt that farmers have had to pay the Catholic Church to atone for a crime 655 years ago.
Swiss public broadcaster RTS says a court in the northeastern canton (state) of Glarus ruled that the current farm owner no longer has to pay 70 Swiss francs ($76) each year because Swiss mortgage reforms in the mid-19th century made the practice invalid.
The broadcaster reported Tuesday the court sided with the landowner in a dispute with the church after he refused to make the annual payment for oil and candles.
The payments had been a tradition since 1357, when a man named Konrad Mueller killed a man named Heinrich Stucki. To atone, Mueller promised to always pay to keep an eternal lamp lit.