The Strange Case of the Land Owner who Refuses to pay the Church for a Murder back in 1357

27 November, 2012 at 3:34 pm 3 comments

I know, I know, 1357 is about 350 years too early for 18th century, but this story will hopefully make those among you who still nurse a headache from headdesking over the decision by the CoE not to appoint female bishops feel a little better about their church. Because it’s always nice to know that God’s Ground Staff is just as ridiculous elsewhere.

Let me take you to the beautiful Church of Näfels, Canton of Glarus, Switzerland. Glarus is one of those places where Switzerland is at its “swissest”, in lack of a better word. Cows, green lands and lots of stubborn people. It was in Glarus where the last “witch” in Europe was executed, the unfortunate Anna Göldi. (To be fair, they did rehabilitate her soon after – in 2008. After refusing a rehabilitation in 2007.)

The French tried without much success to implement new regulations during the occupation of Glarus in the late 18th century; people simply refused to accept the newfangled nonsense. So, considering that we’re dealing with people who are very proud of their traditions, you won’t be surprised that the Church of Näfels is taking a land owner to the cleaners for refusing to pay a fine dating back to 1357. 1357.

In 1357 (have I mentioned it was 1357 already?), one Konrad Müller, murderer and owner of various walnut trees, committed to donate an Eternal Light to the church of Näfels and provide the oil to keep it running. In return, he would not be executed for his crime. After his death, the owners of his land were supposed to deliver the yearly Eternal Go Go Juice, courtesy of the above-mentioned walnut trees.

Fast forward to 2012 (655 years later. 655.), and Konrad Müller’s house has long gone. So have his walnut trees. His land has been split into two lots, and the owners are neither relatives of Mr. Müller nor involved with murder or oil trade. And yet – yet each of them has to pay the church CHF 70.00 a year (that’s about £ 47 or EUR 58) due to lack of walnut trees.

One of the land owners had enough of this deal, and refused to pay for the sins of some bloke who had made a deal with the church centuries ago. “That’s it, I’m not going to pay for this anymore!” he declared, and that was not it, of course, because this is Switzerland, and Glarus, and the Church, and Oh My God TRADITION, so the resident will now have to appear in front of a judge and make his case.

As you can imagine, there are two camps here:

Team “if he didn’t want to pay he shouldn’t have signed the contract, and it’s tradition, what’s been good for 655 years will be good for another 655”

versus

Team “21st century, wtf selling of indulgences, contract is not legal, waste of money and resources”.

Personally, I’m Team “thanks for providing me with something to write about”, but considering that, through the years, the church has earned thousands of Francs with the sin and soul of Konrad Müller, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t make more sense to get the Eternal Light electrified. I’d be willing to donate 24 energy saving light bulbs to the church in Näfels, if that could help restore peace.

May St. Osram provide some enlightenment.

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Entry filed under: news, random, resource.

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