A Russian priest has been filmed violent and repeatedly pushing a screaming and naked baby under water during a baptism.
Ilia Semiletov could be struck off after he was seen three times roughly forcing the two-year-old girl’s head underwater in the font.
The girl screamed in terror but watching adults did not intervene and there was even laughter among those standing nearby.
There were claims the priest had twice struck the girl’s head on the font during the extreme baptism, but these were denied by the church and the girl’s mother.
The priest is to face a church court but the girl’s mother insisted the girl “cried because she was scared of the priest”, and her parents did not register a complaint.
The mother has said she was “grateful” to the priest for baptising her daughter.
A worried woman parishioner Liliya Reznikova said the priest had told her that children – other than newborn babies – must be “broken” during the baptism ritual because “Satan is sitting inside them”.
She said: “I remember how I was scared when he began to speak this nonsense.’"
In the video, water gushed out of the font onto the floor as bearded Orthodox priest Semiletov forced the girl’s head under water.
Nuns with mops are seen arriving afterwards to dry the puddles.
The Russian Orthodox church is planning to take action against the priest over the video which has gone viral in Russia this week – even though the baptism was two years ago.
Archpriest Mikhail Samokhin, of the Pyatigorsk and Circassian diocese, said: “The priest acted too harshly.
“He has been suspended from officiating at services and he will he will be judged by the church court.”
The court has the power to remove his holy orders.
Semiletov is a priest at St George’s Convent in Yessentuki, in Russia’s Stavropol region.
The mother anonymously posted: “My daughter was two then.
“She was crying because she was afraid of the priest.
“She was in church for the first time.
“We are very grateful to the priest that he agreed to baptise her.”
An online backlash has condemned the priest as “sick” criticising the relatives “who failed to stop this nightmare”.
One commenter asked: “Does this maniac serves the church or the devil?”
Another asked: “How could the parents calmly watch it?”
"This is a priest from hell," said another.
The priest had been suspended and will face a church court over the disturbing incident.
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