From the blog

ROMANIA: Orthodox Church Under Fire Following Baby Death After Baptism

A six-week old baby that drowned during christening ceremony have died in hospital days after the ceremony at Saints Constantin and Elena church in Suceava, Romania.

The baby, who got sick after the priest had immersed him into the baptismal font three times was admitted to Suceava County Hospital having taken in too much water.

The baby’s parents called emergency service after they had realized the baby’s condition was getting worse.

“A one-month-and-a-half baby was found in cardiac arrest in the church after the baptism service. The baby was resuscitated by the SMURD unit that arrived on the spot. He was hospitalized in serious condition in the hospitals’ intensive care unit, was intubated and mechanically ventilated,” the spokesperson of the hospital Dan Teodorovici said on Sunday.

The arch-priest Doru Budeanu confirmed the incident, he said he had talked to the priest who officiated the baptism and added that the baby had been crying during and after the baptism.

The baby boy’s father revealed “Thebaby came over with a nosebleed, we put him face down to take out the water and he did not recover, his heart was beating but the pulse was falling. If you see the baby with his mouth open and crying one cannot immerse him into the water, doesn’t it?”

Many Romanians on social media have called on the Orthodox Church to change the ritual of baptism following the death of the baby. An online petition with over 56,000 signatures is growing against the practice.

Prosecutors have opened a charge of manslaughter against the priest who conducted the christening ceremony as autopsy revealed the presence of fluid in the baby’s lungs.