A six-week-old baby boy has died after his face was submerged in water several times during baptism.
The baby was completely immersed in water several times during the baptism at the “Saint Constantin and Elena” church in the northern city of Suceava on Sunday, according to Orthodox rituals Archdeacon Doru Budeanu told Monitorul de Suceava.
The archdeacon said he spoke to the priest who baptized the newborn and he said the baby had cried during and after immersion, indicating that his vital signs were good.
However, several minutes later the baby, who was born prematurely, went floppy and he called the ambulance, he said.
The family contradicted that report and told Antena 3 that the baby stopped breathing when he was taking out of the font, and they called the emergency services.
”We wanted to christen him, and I can tell you he was crying, but the priest plunged him into water three times, and he inhaled water. The priest took him out and wiped him down. I found out from doctors that he’d inhaled 110 milliliters of water. He was bleeding from his nose and we put his head down to get out the water but he didn’t recover; his heart was beating but it was very weak,” the father, who was not named, told Monitorul de Suceava.
Emergency officials resuscitated the infant and he was taken to the St John the New Suceava County Hospital where he was put on a ventilator, hospital spokesman Dan Teodorovici said.
He suffered a cardiac arrest, and died early Monday morning.
Obiectiv de Suceava reported that current church rules say that newborns should just have water sprinkled on their foreheads and not be immersed in the font. Police have launched a manslaughter investigation, but haven’t charged anyone.
In 2010, another Orthodox priest was accused of accidentally drowning a six-week-old boy during a baptism in northeast Romania.
Witnesses claimed the baby died after the priest failed to cover his mouth and nose as he immersed him in water three times.