The most senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in the UK has accused popular supermarket chain Lidl of offending Christians around the world after crosses were digitally removed from some food packaging items.
Archbishop Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, raised concerns the marketing decision had offended believers and Greeks alike.
“They [have] hurt the Christians – not only the Greeks because it was a Greek church – but the Christians [from] what I read. I hope that many others will protest against this silly decision,” read comments attributed to the Archbishop on Premier.com.
Dozens of shoppers took to the company’s Facebook page in protest at Lidl erasing roof-mounted crosses from a picture of an iconic Greek Orthodox church on the Greek island of Santorini.
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Following the archbishop’s comments, Lidl UK said it had nothing to add to its previous statement: “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.”
A number of shoppers contacted Lidl UK’s Facebook page and pledged to boycott the store until the package decision was reversed.
Bruce Duncan wrote: “As a long-standing customer I trust that you will understand the offence you are causing by this childish and totally unnecessary ‘politically correct’ behaviour and backtrack just as fast as you can.
Sheelagh le Cocq said: “It is disgraceful that you have removed the crosses from your own brand Greek products. You have offended many, many people of Christian faith by doing so.
Bill Redlin asked: “Who takes these idiotic decisions?”
Lidl UK signalled a willingness to bow to customer concerns, saying: “We will ensure that all feedback is taken into consideration when redesigning future packaging.”