Russia Warns Against Ice Baptisms
Video of child being forced into ice hole sparks outrage
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2011 3:22 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Chucking unwilling children into holes in the Siberian ice isn't the great idea some Orthodox believers appear to think it is, Russian authorities warn. The trend for "ice baptisms"—usually carried out during the Russian Orthodox festival of Epiphany in January—has been in the spotlight since video surfaced of a screaming, naked boy around 5 years old being repeatedly plunged into an ice hole by a priest. The video caused a huge outcry in the Russian media.

Plunging a child into an ice hole—even for a few seconds—can cause health problems up to and including death, particularly for newborns, a pediatrician warns. A Moscow priest says the practice only became widespread with the resurgence of religion in the 1990s. Christenings aren't any holier if they're carried out in an icy river instead of a church, he says—and if the child is old enough to protest, his or her opinion should be respected. "It does not matter if it happens in an ice hole or in a church, a priest cannot ever be abusive," he tells the BBC. "This is not right."

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
nkrivosh
Mar 23, 2011 7:12 PM CDT
Yes, this may be abusive, But, dipping a kid into cold water for a total of less than 2 seconds will not hurt the kid in any way. Plus, they have a blanket ready for him, as soon as it is done.
dann0
Mar 23, 2011 11:40 AM CDT
Shouldn't happen anywhere, especially if the child isn't old enough to protest.
JackNelsonSteward
Mar 23, 2011 8:09 AM CDT
So ... wait ... you mean that repeatedly plunging a child through a hole in the ice to be instantly immersed in nearly-freezing water isn't GOOD for them ... ??!! and it took medical experts to figure this out? and WE'RE the ones with the "big brains?!"