This article originally appeared on VICE Romania
When you hear the word baptism, you probably think of piss-poor catering and a screaming child being doused in water, right? This might be the case in Britain but in Romania – the European Union's most religious country – baptisms aren't always that straightforward.
Photographer Remus Ţiplea has been studying the ways in which various Christian denominations admit their followers. "Orthodox and Catholic Christians baptise their new-borns, whereas Pentecostals, Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses are baptised when they hit adulthood," Remus explains. "People don't take the plunge until they feel ready to do so, because it's considered a very important process and usually happens in front of the entire community."
He continues: "Each community is guided by certain rules, and if you follow them, they will welcome you. I've established a strong connection with many of them, they know me and are used to me being around."
Of course, there have also been times when things didn't go according to plan: "Once, I travelled a few hundred kilometres to where the ceremony was taking place, and the leaders of the congregation simply forbade me from taking any pictures. At another ceremony, I was told, very politely, that I wasn't welcome at their ritual because I had a beard. My favourite experience was in a village on the bank of the river Somes. The priests were baptising people in the river and I actually followed them in so I could take pictures. I was up to my neck in water."
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