Priest suspended after baby suffers injuries during violent baptism service
The priest has been suspended and police are investigating.
A Russian Orthodox priest has been banned for one year after aggressive behaviour with a baby during a baptismal service.
Footage circulated of Father Foty plunging the head of a child into a font that appears to be too small for the infant. The baptismal ceremony took place at the Marienburg Intercessional Church in Gatchina, 25 miles south of St. Petersburg.
In the footage, the child's mother, Anastasiya, is heard shouting at the priest, who prevents her from intervening and forces the screaming baby's head into the water again.
“Let him go, he’s in pain,” she cried but the priest continued.
"He did everything to hurt the child," she said of the incident afterwards.
"He saw that he was big, that it was not possible to dive him into such a small font. He had to splash the water on his head. But still he decided to do it his way. The little one was crying and wriggling. I was afraid, I ran to him. I tried to take the child away. I nearly caught fire myself because my scarf touched the candles around the font."
Russian TV station Channel 5 shared the footage of the ceremony, claiming that the child was "nearly killed" and had suffered scratches and bruises from the incident.
The Gatchina Diocese have also released the following statement: "The high rank of a clergyman obliges its owner to be the image of the Good Shepherd - Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to perform all sacred actions reverently, with the fear of God and a sensitive attitude towards the children of the Mother Church. Bishop Mitrofan expresses his sympathy to the parents and recipients of the baptised child and apologises for the behaviour of the cleric."
According to The Times, the priest is also currently under police investigation.
Warning: Some viewers may find the footage below disturbing.
⛪️ Священник едва не убил ребенка во время крещения в Гатчине.
После церемонии на теле ребенка остались ссадины и ушибы.
⚠ Внимание: шокирующие кадры 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/TPDzZ4v52M
— Пятый канал Новости (@5tv) August 11, 2019