The Roman Catholic Church ended its 18-year-old legal battle with the Czech Republic over the ownership of Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral, one of the country's most important landmarks, the Earth Times website reports today (May 24, 2010).
President Vaclav Klaus and Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka signed a joint administration of the cathedral -- located in the heart of Prague castle -- by both the state and the church.
"The just-signed declaration ends the court dispute over the cathedral and some other properties at Prague Castle," Klaus said during the signing ceremony, held in the cathedral today.
Under the compromise deal, the state will allow the church to use two buildings at the Prague Castle complex for free, and pay for the cathedral's operations and repairs.
The latest deal marks a thaw in church-state relations in the Czech Republic -- one of the most secular countries in Europe.