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Patriarch Irinej, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, dies after contracting COVID-19

Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has died after contracting COVID-19, on Friday.

As being reported, the 90-year-old head of the Serbian Orthodox Church had led a large public funeral earlier in November for the most senior cleric in neighbouring Montenegro who also died due to COVID-19.

His death was announced on Friday. Patriarch Irinej had been on a ventilator in a military hospital after his condition deteriorated on Thursday.

Patriarch Irinej was admitted to hospital on 4 November, reportedly three days after he officiated at the funeral of the Church’s most senior cleric in Montenegro, 82-year-old Metropolitan Bishop Amfilohije Radovic.

While making the official announcement of his death, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in an Instagram post said, “I was honoured to know you. People like you never depart.”

Patriarch Irinej, who bitterly opposed Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence in 2008, was a conservative who also wielded major political influence.

The Serbian government has declared three days of national mourning, that will last on Sunday.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has around 12 million followers, mainly in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, and dioceses in the United States, Australia, and Western Europe.

 

Saman Siddiqui

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