The death of a six-week-old baby hours after a baptism ceremony in Romania has prompted an Orthodox archbishop to say such rituals will be analyzed to avoid further tragedy.
The baby had a cardiac arrest after he was immersed three times in holy water. He had a violent death and liquid was found in his lungs, an autopsy found.
Some 60,000 people have signed a petition calling for change.
The archbishop is the most senior member of the clergy to back reform.
He said he believed in the future the practice of immersing a baby would be reviewed and “the most appropriate decision taken to respect [Church] ordinances and carefully avoid unwanted accidents.”
He added that while immersion in holy water was appropriate for adults, other ways were available, such as dipping a baby’s feet into holy water and sprinkling its head.
A manslaughter inquiry has been opened by prosecutors into the priest who carried out the baptism.