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Priest refuses to baptize girl, 3, after she says “No”

A Greek Orthodox priest refused to baptize a 3-year-old girl after he asked her three times for her consent and she replied three times with “No”.  The obviously nervous priest took off his stole and refused to proceed with the holy baptizing procedure. He left despite the strong opposition by the stunned parents, godmother and guests. Τhe unprecedented case of a priest asking a 3-year-old for her consent became known when an internet user uploaded the controversial video on YouTube.

Video:

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The footage captures the crucial moment inside the Greek Orthodox Church of Metamorphosis Sotira in Munich, Germany:  the priest, the parents and the godmother holding in her arms the little girl that was going to be baptized “Lydia”. The the child is restless and whines. Then the priest asks her “Lydia, do you want to be baptized?” The girl says “No!”. The priest asks the child two more times and receives the same negative answer. Then the priest takes off his stole and tells the parents “I’m sorry, as I told you the baptism is not going to take place.”

At the very end, the child was baptized by another priest.

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This morning I saw on Skai TV, priest Petros Klitsch, 38,  arguing that “baptism ceremonies should be nice” and quiet and without screaming children.

“When a child is older than 12 months, I ask the parents to come often to the church so that the child gets used to the church. I can explain to the child what is going to happen.”

“It is a personal issue for me, I had a bad experience, I cannot baptize by force, children screaming inside the font.”

Later, speaking to Greek news website Dogma.gr, the priest explained the reasons for his refusal as:

“Once the process of indoctrination started I saw that the child had a fear,  a refusal. In the meeting I had earlier with their parents I explained that I have a difficulty to baptize a child that verbally refuses the word baptism and that I will not be able to do it if the child says ‘No’.

The priest also noted that: A month ago, the parents came to my office to apply for the baptism and on that day, the child was very benevolent. Of course, I had my difficulty. For sentimental reasons and for reasons of aesthetics and beauty I try that the sacrament is being celebrated without shouts and screams. ” (dogma.gr)

 

The video triggered many reactions among Greeks with many arguing that a priest cannot ask a 3-year-old such a question, while others claim a child at this age is old enough to express its views on such a religious procedure.

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I don’t know if the priest had prejudice against the parents for apparently not to the church very often. I also wonder how the priest deals with 9-month-old Greek Christians who scream and shout and spill the holy water with the blessed oil around on priest’s robe and godmother fine dress.

But I certainly cannot ask the consent of a nervous and maybe frightened 3-year-old that will tell me 1000+1 NO, whether the question is “baptism”, “food”, “water” or  “sleep”. It is rather the stubbornness of the age, and it has fairly nothing to do with expressing philosophical views on Religion,  Baptism, the Ancestral Sin and all the nice things being taught by the Holy Fathers. I don’t even believe that the child wanted to introduce a Greek Orthodox Reform that baptism should occur only after consent of the aspiring Christian.

What do you think?


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12 comments

  1. “But I certainly cannot ask the consent of a nervous and maybe frightened 3-year-old”

    If you cannot ask for consent, then DO NOT BAPTIZE her. Simple.

  2. I baptized when I was 40 days old. My sisters baptized when they were 80 days old. Because of our parents were Orthodox.why they didn’t bring her when she was much younger? Well, I m sorry for parents.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      there can be several reasons for bringing her late to baptize (health, economical, geographical conditions).

  3. The Godparents and the parents speak for the child at this age, not the child. There must be more to this story for the priest to refuse to perform the sacrament based on the words of a three year old.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      no idea, no more details. I think too it’s odd. some personal problems. nobody knows.

  4. I wonder: is it standard procedure in the orthodox church to ask for the approval of the child to be baptized? If yes, isn’t there a minimum age in order to be capable to answer such questions? Of course the little girl’s “no” had nothing to do with the baptism itself, she just wanted to quit a situation that was uncomfortable to her.

    Anyway this episode shows that maybe it would be a better idea to baptize only adults or at least noone under – say – 14 or 16.

  5. Why did they wait 2 long 2 baptise her, she suppose 2 be baptise on her 80 days

    • keeptalkinggreece

      there is not such rule a child should be 80 years old. X reasons are possible: economic, hearth, etc

  6. agatha mantanes

    Ok let me get this straight the priest took a 3 year old in front of a tub/urn full of water and asked if she wanted to be baptized and was surprised she said no???? Really!!!! priest needs to go not just for being stupid but for not educating the Greek orthodox not to wait until there kids are ready to take driving lessons to baptize them.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I suppose the priest baptizes also 4, 5, 8, 20 months old who scream in the font.