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Historic German church demolished by mining company

St Lambertus church in Erkelenz-Immerath, western Germany, is demolished (Getty Images)

A 19th-Century Catholic church in a village in western Germany was destroyed on Tuesday to make way for a coalmine.

St Lambertus church, known locally as a ‘cathedral’ due to its size, was torn down as part of the demolition of the village Immerath.

The farming village was once home to 1,200 residents, but has been taken over by mining company RWE and relocated seven miles away. Houses and a new hospital have been built at the new site, and bodies exhumed from the graveyard have been reburied.

The church was notable for its double towers and neo-Romanesque design. It had not held a Mass since October 2013, when it was formally deconsecrated. RWE has built a replacement church according to a modern design in the new village.

[Fr Lucie-Smith: The closure of Himmerod symbolises religious decline across Europe]

The area will become part of an opencast lignite mine.

The church before demolition (Johan Bakker/Wikimedia)
A wreath and flowers are placed in protest (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
The new St Lambertus church (Käthe and Bernd Limburg/Wikimedia)