A couple in St. Petersburg, Russia is facing charges for failure to assist a person in danger after taking their injured baby to church, instead of the hospital.
The two-month-old baby had sustained a head injury in a minor car accident, Russian news outlet RIA Novosti reported, despite the fact that he was in a car seat. He died by the time he was in the priest’s hands.
The parents took him for an emergency baptism because “otherwise he would be denied the Kingdom of Heaven,” the parents told authorities, according to Fontanka.ru.
Fontanka.ru pointed out that there is a chapel in every hospital in St. Petersburg, including the Filatov Hosptial that was closest to the site of the car accident.
The couple, who are in their 40s, faces up to a year in prison.
Russia is largely Russian Orthodox, with 83 percent of the population describing themselves as a religious in a 2012 poll, a huge jump from 24% just after the fall of the Soviet Union on 1991.
"This is superstition, not religion," a St Petersburg Orthodox Church spokesman said. "They should have gone to the hospital - it's only human."
An investigating official added: "A psychiatric ward is the best temple for such people."