Romania – Child dies after baptism rituals
The death of a six-week-old baby hours after a baptism ceremony in Romania has prompted an Orthodox archbishop to say such rituals will be analysed to avoid further tragedy. The baby had a cardiac arrest after he was immersed three times in holy water. He had a violent death and liquid was found in his lungs, an autopsy found.
An online petition calling for changes to the ritual had gathered more than 56,000 signatures by Thursday evening. “The death of a newborn baby because of this practice is a huge tragedy,” said a message with the petition. “This risk must be ruled out for the joy of baptism to triumph.”
Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said, “a little water on the baby’s forehead could be poured instead of complete immersion”. However, Archbishop Teodosie, leader of the Church’s traditionalist wing, said the ritual would not alter or change.
Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation into the priest, the AFP reports.