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Lidl in fresh church cross removal row

Lidl has been accused of airbrushing out crosses from a historic church in Italy to avoid upsetting its non-Christian customers.

This follows the controversy that was sparked last month when the German supermarket chain digitally removed crosses on top of an iconic Greek church from its food packaging.

The latest row involves the Church of Sant'Antonio Abate in the village of Dolceacqua in the north-western region of Liguria.

Fulvio Gazzola, the mayor of Dolceacqua, made a formal complaint to Lidl, according to the Telegraph. He said the image of the church, with the crosses removed from its façade and its bell tower, for the supermarket's promotional purposes, tampered with one of the best-known images of the village.

He added: "You need to show photos of Dolceacqua which correspond to reality. If you don't want to show crosses, then use an image of our castle.

"Lidl said that removing religious symbols is part of an Italian and European publicity strategy. They are free to do what they want but they shouldn't ruin photos. This is harmful to the image of our village and to our Christian traditions."


While Lidl have claimed that the crosses had already been removed from the church when the image was obtained from a photographic database, they apologised for the image in a statement sent to the Telegraph.

Speaking to its "customers and to the inhabitants of Dolceacqua", the supermarket said the image would be removed "immediately".


Greek Orthodox Church leaders had urged for a Lidl boycott last month when a German shopper noticed that the supermarket giant had erased the symbols on the roof of the Greek Orthodox building in Santorini from products in its own-label Greek food range.

Research by Premier revealed the distorted image has appeared on products available in the UK, including Eirdanous Halloumi with Basil.

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In a statement, Lidl UK told Premier: "We are extremely sorry for any offence caused by the most recent artwork and would like to reassure our customers that this is not an intentional statement."

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