According to AFP on the 4th, the Romanian Orthodox Church is facing increasing pressure to ask them to change the baptism ceremony, which requires babies to soak in holy water three times.
A six-week-old boy was rushed to the hospital after a cardiac arrest on Monday, but died hours later. The autopsy showed that his lungs had fluid.
Prosecutors have begun to launch an investigation into suspected manslaughter against priests in the northeastern city of Suchewa.
As of Thursday night, an online petition calling for reform of the religious ceremony had collected more than 56,000 signatures.
The petition reads: “The death of a newborn child because of this practice is a great tragedy. This risk must be eliminated in order for baptism to be happy.
One netizen condemned the “barbarism” of the ceremony, while another criticized “too stubbornness of those who think that maintaining such rituals is God’s will”.
Local media reported several similar incidents in recent years.
Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said that the priest could pour a small amount of water on the baby’s forehead instead of soaking it completely.
However, Archbishop Teodosie, the leader of the church tradition, said that this ceremony would not change.
According to recent polls, more than 80% of Romanians are Orthodox, and the church is one of the most trusted institutions.