The orthodox church in Romania has come under scanner after a six-year-old died following a baptism ceremony during which he was immersed thrice in the water.
The infant was immediately rushed to hospital where the doctors claimed the child suffered cardiac arrest, as the autopsy reports revealed that liquid was found in the lungs of the baby.
Raged by the incident tens and thousands of them have signed online petition pressuring the church to change baptism rituals. The petition has gathered more than 56,000 signatures. “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.”
The netizens have 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.
Acting against the incident, the prosecutors have launched a manslaughter probe against the priest who performed the ritual in the Romanian city of Suceava.
Scores of such incidents have been reported in the past by the local media.
Despite this, the Church spokesman Vasile Banescu has claimed that water on the baby’s forehead could be poured instead of immersion. However, the practice will not be altered, added Archbishop Teodosie, leader of the Church’s traditionalist wing.
Over 80 per cent of Romanians are Orthodox, and the Church is the most trusted institute.