The six-week-old suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to hospital on Monday but he died a few hours later, the autopsy revealing liquid in his lungs. Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation against the priest in the north-eastern city of Suceava.
Local media recounted several similar incidents in recent years. Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said priests could pour a little water on the baby’s forehead instead of full immersion. But Archbishop Teodosie, leader of the Church’s traditionalist wing, said the ritual would not change.
The father of the child told Monitorul de Suceava: “The boy was crying but the priest submerged him three times in water and he inhaled water. [I] removed him, wiped him, from the doctors I found out he inhaled 110ml of water… If you see a child with a gaping mouth and crying you wouldn’t immerse him completely in water, would you?”
Infant baptisms in the Orthodox Church in Romania involve dunking a baby’s head into water three separate times. The video below is from the nation of Georgia, but the ritual is similar.
No scripture and/or proselytizing.