A six-week-old baby boy has died after being baptised in a church.
The baby was being baptised at a church in Suceava, Romania, when the priest submerged him three times and he inhaled 110ml of water, his father told local newspaper Monitorul de Suceava.
“The baby had blood on his nose. I put him face down, to get the water out. He didn't recover,” he told the paper.
He questioned why the priest continued with the baptism even though the child appeared to be in anguish.
It’s not clear if he died during or after the baptism but Atena 3 reported he died after he arrived at hospital.
Archpriest Doru Budeanu said an investigation will now be undertaken. He added due to the “ordinances” of the Romanian Orthodox Church, a child is always submerged three times during the ceremony.
Vasile Bănescu, spokesman for the Romanian Patriarchate, told Antena 3 the case was “tragic”.
“Let's not imagine that a child can be put in water without covering his nose, mouth and ears," he told the network.
"There is a technique that an experienced priest always uses. This is how a baptism is celebrated with the utmost care.”
However, more than 60,000 people in an online petition have called for a change.
“Given the tragic situations in which infants died after immersion in the water in the baptismal font, the church must urgently regulate this practice,” the petition reads.
“We do not demand the cancellation of the practice of baptism but its modification, so that these are prevented from unnecessary and even absurd risks.”
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