THE Archbishop of York held a session of open-air baptisms outside York Minster in front of hundreds of people at the weekend.

Now an Easter tradition in York, 11 people were baptised on Saturday by Dr John Sentamu in a specially-installed pool.

The Archbishop, in a floor-length white robe, stood knee-deep in water and fully immersed each of the candidates as a public declaration of their Christian faith.

Caitlin Armstrong is a member of St Mark’s Church in Clifton and attends Easingwold School.

Caitlin, 15, said she had chosen to be baptised because she wanted to follow Jesus.

Speaking after the ceremony she said: “It felt excellent, but it was cold.”

The event was organised by One Voice York, a network of churches of different denominations.

Dr Sentamu said in the early years of the Church all baptisms were held outside and St Paulinus, a former Archbishop of York, held baptisms in the River Ouse.

In his Easter sermon yesterday, he said the Church should draw others into Christianity but had instead spent too long arguing about dogma.

He said: “Then we will not get the kind of statistics among our children which I read recently, which showed that 53 per cent were unaware of the religious significance of Easter and indeed 30 per cent thought it was to celebrate the birthday of the Easter Bunny.

“It is deeply sad that millions of children don’t know the great news of the true meaning of Easter.”