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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.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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