The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church has died after being infected with the coronavirus, President Aleksandar Vucic said on November 20.
The 90-year-old Patriarch Irinej had been intubated the previous day.
Vucic wrote on his Instagram account that he was honored to have known the patriarch. "People like you never leave," Vucic wrote with a black-and-white photo of Patriarch Irinej.
The Church announced on November 4 that its spiritual leader had been hospitalized after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Just three days earlier, Patriarch Irinej led a service during the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
Amfilohije died on October 30 at the age of 82 after being hospitalized following a positive test for the coronavirus.
Thousands of people turned out in Podgorica for his funeral in violation of coronavirus measures. Many mourners were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
An open coffin with the body of the metropolitan was exhibited and the priests, most of the believers, as well as some politicians, did not wear masks or respect physical-distancing measures.
Priests gave communion with the same spoon, and some of those present kissed the hand of the deceased cleric during the ceremony.
In the last 24 hours, 6,109 new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Serbia, and 29 new deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
The country of 7 million people has had a total of 104,000 confirmed infections and 1,110 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.