Baby dies after baptism in Suceava. Archdiocese: “There is no word or deed to wipe away tears”

“There is no word or deed to wipe away the tears and now soothe the broken hearts of parents and relatives, but we are with them at this particularly difficult time,” the Archdiocese of Suceava said Monday. An internal investigation has been launched into the case of the 6-week-old child who died a few hours after receiving the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in the Church of Sts Constantine and Helen in Suceava’s Zamca neighborhood on Sunday.

“We beseech the Most Merciful God to strengthen, comfort and heal this wound, together with the infant Justin, who will henceforth watch over them from the throne of the heavenly Father,” the Archdiocese’s statement said.

On behalf of the Romanian Patriarchate, Spokesperson Vasile Bănescu conveyed “deep compassion towards the family of the deceased child, so hard tried now and whose pain we cannot even fully understand”.

According to press reports, the child felt unwell on Sunday, immediately after the third immersion at Baptism, and went into cardio-respiratory arrest. He was resuscitated in the church by the SMURD crew. The child was hospitalized in serious condition, hat to be intubated and mechanically ventilated. At night, around 1:00, the doctors declared his death.

The officiating priest, Alexandru Mazarache, was ordained in 2007, having experience in officiating the Holy Sacraments. “The only problem the father knew about was that (the baby) was born prematurely,” said Dean Rev. Doru Budeanu. The archpriest also noted that the temperature in the church and in the water were suitable.

“The Mystery of Baptism, according to the canons, is officiated in the Orthodox Churches by the priest or bishop through a threefold immersion in the name of the Holy Trinity. This immersion lasts two-three seconds and involves strict protection of the baby, whose back and neck are supported with the right hand, the mouth and nose being protected by the cup of the left hand, so that he cannot inhale any drops of water in the seconds when it is quickly sunk three times,” Vasile Bănescu explained.

“There is also the possibility of baptism by pouring water on the baby’s head, three times, in the name of the Holy Trinity. This decision can be made in cases of necessity or depending on the health of the baby.”

The Patriarchate’s spokesman called for an urgent internal investigation. “Its result, corroborated with the result of the investigation carried out by the secular authorities, will be made public by the Archdiocese. As soon as possible,” assured Vasile Bănescu.

The Archdiocese of Suceava and Radauti informed that it has already contacted the priest and those present, in order to establish the circumstances in which this tragedy took place and to decide the necessary measures.

“Beyond these, we offer a humble prayer to God, Who rebuked us by this event, to enlighten our minds and straighten our lives, saying together with the Apostle: ‘O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? (Romans 11: 33-34).”

Photography courtesy of / Files

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