THE DEATH of a six-week-old baby in Romania after a controversial Orthodox baptism ritual has led to outrage and calls to reform the practice.
On Monday (February 1st), a six-week-old baby died after going into cardiac arrest while being baptised in a Romanian Orthodox ritual. Following the church’s traditions, the baby was plunged into holy water three times, and doctors found water in its lungs after it tragically passed away in hospital hours later.
The tragic incident, which occurred in the northeastern city of Suceava, has led to outrage in Romania with many calling for the Orthodox baptism practice to be reformed for safety. An online petition calling for the water immersion tradition to be “ruled out” following the “huge tragedy” has already received 56,000 signatures.
In the wake of the scandal, Orthodox Church spokesman Vasile Banescu suggested that priests could pour a small amount of water on the baby’s forehead instead of full immersion. However, traditionalist Archbishop Teodosie said the ritual would not change despite the grave risk it poses to young lives. Romanian media has reported that this recent tragedy is not the first case of death or injury during the controversial baptism practice.
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