The day after such a ceremony, after the death of an infant, several Romanians lined up on social networks this week to convince the Orthodox Church to change the practice of baptism.
“The death of a newborn baby because of this practice is a great tragedy. This risk must be ruled out for the success of baptism,” the initiators of an online application wrote, with more than 56,000 signatures collected on Thursday.
Fluid found in the lungs
On Monday, February 1, a six-week-old baby boy died in hospital after being baptized in a church in Suseva. According to Orthodox rites, he was immersed in holy water three times. He was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack and died a few hours later.
Post-mortem revealed the presence of fluid in his lungs. Many Internet users have condemned the “cruelty” of the practice and criticized the “arrogance of those who think it is God’s will to maintain it.” According to media reports, several such incidents have been reported in recent times.
Orthodox Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said priests could pour some water on the baby’s forehead to prevent such tragedies. But Archbishop Theodosia, a staunch leader of the church, said the practice would not change.