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Medieval church debt wiped clean

Wednesday 9 Jan 2013 8:29 a.m.

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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 of Glarus ruled that the current farm owner no longer has to pay 70 Swiss francs 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.


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