“His Holiness is hospitalized in a COVID hospital in Belgrade,” the patriarch’s office said. On Sunday, in Podgorica, Patriarch Irinej officiated at the funeral service of the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Amfilohije Coast, where most of those present at the funeral did not wear a protective mask and did not observe physical distance.

Patriarch Irinej is 90 years old and was elected Patriarch of Serbia in January 2010. During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Serbia, the Patriarch called on believers to abide by the measures imposed by the Serbian Government, but during religious holidays there were numerous cases of breach of these measures.

Crowds of believers, many without protective masks, gathered at Amfilohije’s funeral in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, despite an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

The ceremony was also attended by Montenegrin Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic, Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic and Milorad Dodik, a Serbian member of Bosnia’s presidency. To date, 53,495 cases of coronavirus and 850 associated deaths have been reported in Serbia – a state of 7.2 million people. Montenegro, with a population of 620,000, has 326 deaths and 20,581 cases of coronavirus.