Catholic Church, Prague Castle administration discuss handing over of St Vitus Cathedral
As we reported last month, the Supreme Court cancelled all previous rulings by lower courts that ordered the Czech state to hand over Prague's St Vitus Cathedral to the Roman Catholic Church. The administration of Prague Castle is now claiming the monument back. On Tuesday, the representatives of both parties met to discuss further steps.
The dispute between the Church and the state has been going on since the early 1990s. While lower courts ruled that the Catholic Church never lost its ownership rights to the Cathedral and the communist government merely oversaw the church's administration, the Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. Built by heads of state to serve God - it is taking years to determine who the cathedral belongs to. Historian Dusan Trestik, an expert on Czech medieval history, says it is all more complex.
"The whole absurdity of this never ending legal battle is that the cathedral including the furnishings does not belong to anyone. It belongs to itself. When Emperor Charles IV built the cathedral and presented it to the archbishopric, it was technically a loan under medieval law. Yet the monarch kept his ownership. But the other party was also an owner. This has never changed. The ownership of the cathedral is still hanging in the medieval state and should not be examined by a civil court."
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is still charging a hundred-crown entrance fee from the visitors, even thought the Prague Castle administration disagrees with it. They say they will abolish the fee once the cathedral is handed over.