Supreme Court Overrules Rusovce Mansion Case
The dispute over ownership of Rusovce Mansion estate has taken a new turn after the Supreme Court revoked the 2011 judgement of Bratislava Regional Court and returned the case for re-examination.
Since 1994 the Order of Saint Benedict (under the Hungarian Benedictine Congregation) has been trying to reclaim title to the property, granted to it by Princess Stephanie of Belgium in her last will and testament almost 70 years ago. The Bratislava Regional Court rejected its claim in 2006, but thanks to the Supreme Court, the monks of Saint Benedict could still reacquire the estate.
The Order filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after it had its claim rejected also by the Constitutional Court in 2008. The Slovak government has been hoping to convert the manor house into representative premises for its own purposes, and even moved forward with its plan to renovate the building by approving the plan in August. This was after the Supreme Court had issued the latest ruling, on 5 June 2012.
Rusovce mansion is not occupied at present and is in fact falling into major disrepair, something the monks are worried about, saying we could lose yet another importance work of architecture. The Slovak Government Office insists that everything is in order, with the 13.5 hectares of land and property being registered in its name on the respective title deeds, having been confirmed also by the courts.
In the twentieth century, the mansion and estate were owned by Hungarian Prince Elemer Lonyay, husband to Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, widow of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary. The couple lived in the mansion till early 1945. Lonyay, who died in Budapest in 1946, left the estate to the Benedictine Order, who had given refuge to him and his wife during the last weeks of World War II at Pannonhalma Archabbey.