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CAFOD responds to the death of Salvadoran artist Fernando Llort, designer of the Romero Cross

13 August 2018


Award-winning Salvadoran painter, Fernando Llort, has died aged 69.

Llort’s famous Romero Crosses – inspired by Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated for speaking out during El Salvador’s bloody civil war - have been displayed in Cathedrals, homes and parishes around the world.

Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Latin America region, said:

“It is with a heavy heart that we’ve received the news that Fernando Llort, the creator of the Romero cross and a dear friend of CAFOD, has died.

“He created the naïve art style which has come to represent the beauty of El Salvador and nurtured an artisan traditional craft which will live on. His art is omnipresent in El Salvador and shown in galleries internationally. Fernando’s iconic crosses are displayed across the UK and the world.  

The sad news comes only two months before Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down at the altar in 1980 while taking mass - is about to be proclaimed as a saint in Rome.

“During his life, Archbishop Romero became the outspoken defender of the country’s poorest communities against the violence of paramilitary death squads.

“Fernando’s crosses are deeply inspired by Oscar Romero and his messages of justice, unity and reconciliation which Romero hoped for his country. Fernando has been able to carry on Romero’s powerful words through the beauty and colourful artwork of his crosses.”   

“In 2013, a four-metre, three dimensional Fernando Llort painted Salvadoran Cross, was installed in St. George’s Cathedral in Southwark, London – containing a fragment of Archbishop Romero’s blood-stained alb and his zucchetto.

“CAFOD is proud to have worked with Fernando Llort, he will be missed. We will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Notes to Editors:

  • CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and is a member of Caritas Internationalis. CAFOD works with communities across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, to fight poverty and injustice. The aid agency works with people in need regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.  

For further information or media requests please contact:  Elouise Hobbs on - Email:, Landline: 020 7095 5453, Mobile: 07954 077 426  or CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429.