Orthodox Church under fire in Romania after baby dies following baptism..
Six-week-old suffered cardiac arrest during ceremony, which involves three immersions in holy water
Categorize this up in the ‘crazy Romanian’ file–one overwhelming in high strangeness..
This time the story involves a tragic outcome.
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…
The UK GUARDIAN is among those reporting facts about the religious killing,
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.”
One internet user denounced the “brutality” of the ritual and another criticised the “stubbornness of those who think that it is the will of God” to maintain it.
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.
Eminence Calinic, the Archbishop of Arges, is the most prominent voice so far who appears open to change. “In other icons, Jesus stands in the water up to his neck, and with his head bowed he receives baptism by pouring water over the top of his head,” he was quoted as saying.
The Archbishop of Tomis, however, took a more belligerent stance. “We will never change the ritual. The canons of this religion have been in place for over 1,000 years,” he said. “That is why we won’t change. We are not intimidated.”