Video has emerged last week of a bishop in a Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus vigorously dunking a baby into water as part of a Baptism ritual.
The bishop dips the naked baby into the water three times before he is passed to his parents who are waiting with a towel to dry the young child. The baby’s legs can be seen flying into the air with each dunk as he is only supported by his arms where the priest is holding him.
Shared on Twitter by user @Miss_Patriciah, the video has now been viewed more than 14 million times and elicited a range of reactions from other Twitter users. Some have defended the practice, even sharing videos of other similarly vigorous Baptisms and pointing out that the baby will not retain any memory of the experience.
Others have been far more critical, condemning the actions of the Bishop and questioning how it is allowed to happen. “Is this seriously legal just because a guy wearing a cross did it???” commented one Twitter user. Another said, “Omg .. I would drown him in that water if he did that to my baby!!!!!!”
Much attention has also focussed on the reaction of the group of young children standing to the side of the bishop throughout the video. The young girls recoil as the baby is immersed into the Font, with a large quantity of water splashing out due to the force.
A lady in the background of the video can also be seen bringing her hand to her mouth and turning to walk away after the baby is dunked for the second time.
The immersion of a child being baptised into the Baptismal Font is common to many Christian faiths but the concern with this particular footage is over the sheer force used on the baby.