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Six-week-old baby died of cardiac arrest after a baptism ceremony in Romania. The priest, who now faces manslaughter charges, immersed the infant in the holy water three times. The poor baby inhaled the water and was rushed to hospital but passed away hours later due to liquid in his lungs.

A Romanian Orthodox priest sinks a child during a baptism at a church in Bucharest in May 2014. (File photo)

The baptism ceremonies held in Romania where over 80 percent of the population is Orthodox are considered very important events and are often celebrated with hundreds of guests and huge parties.

According to a number of recent polls, the church is the most trusted institution in this European county. However, after this tragedy, a number of people have asked from the church to change the baptism rituals. In fact, by Thursday evening, over 56,000 signatures have been gathered. The petition said: “The death of a newborn baby because of this practice is a huge tragedy. This risk must be ruled out for the joy of baptism to triumph.”

Romanian Orthodox priests sprinkle holy water over believers to bless them at the end of the Epiphany mass held on January 6 every year 

Church representatives took their stand, among which Vasile Banescu who believes that instead of immersing the babies in the water three times, priests can pour or sprinkle a little water on the little one’s forehead, which is the case in other Orthodox countries. Archbishop Teodosie, the leader of the Church’s traditionalist wing, however, said the tradition won’t change.

EPA

We are so very sorry for the loss of an innocent soul. Rest in peace.

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