The St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle was formally returned to the Catholic Church this week. The date of September 5, 2006, thus marks the end of 13 years of ownership disputes between the Church and the state.
The cathedral was founded in 1344 and its purpose from the beginning was to serve as a house of prayer. It was in the hands of the Catholic Church for more than 600 years until in 1954, the communist government of Czechoslovakia decided that its administration would be passed on to the state. A few years after the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the Church demanded the return of administration rights, and a court ruling to that effect was issued in October last year.
Admission to St. Vitus Cathedral was previously included in the ticket prices for Route A and Route B at the Prague Castle. It is no longer the case. The new cathedral administrator quickly made some changes to make it clear that the cathedral is primarily a religious object, not a tourist attraction. The space you can visit free of charge is now smaller and an entrance fee of 100 CZK (approx. 3.50 EUR/4.50 USD) per person must be paid to visit any of the areas “behind the rope”.
It is’nt right the case is finished, it still continues. The State was only forced to make the cathedral over to the Metropolitan Chapter because of the last legitimate ruling.
The State still calls into question the antecedent ownership. The Cathedral was founded by the king who entrasted it to Metropolitan Chapter’s care, but it doesn’t mean the ownership was changed. In fact, there’s no evidence of any change of ownership before 1918 (the transfer of all royal property). In addition, the cadaster record is also ambiguous – it says that the cathedral is owned by the cathedral itself.
The case is very complicated and interesting – I’m waiting impatiently for the final judgement.
Interesting. I didn’t know that. I wonder how the case turns out.