The patriarch tested positive for COVID-19 on November 4, after attending the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohie, the highest prelate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, who also died of COVID-19 three days earlier. Irineu’s health deteriorated during the morning of Thursday, when he was intubated, and on Friday his death occurred.

Ignoring the risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus by touching the surfaces, some of those who came to St. Sava’s Cathedral on Saturday – where the coffin is laid until Sunday’s funeral – have remained faithful to the tradition of kissing the coffin with the dead patriarch’s body. glass. However, most followed the rules, wearing a mask in church and passing the coffin solemnly, according to Agerpres.

Like many other European countries, Serbia is facing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, with more than 104,000 infections as of Friday, including 1,110 deaths.

Serbian epidemiologist Predrag Kon, a member of the national committee tasked with fighting the pandemic, warned that the funeral of Patriarch Irenaeus was “a great risk.” “This meeting is unacceptable … But it is something that no one can ban,” he said.

Irenaeus became the 45th patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2010. It pastors about 12 million believers, mostly from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia, and has dioceses in the United States, Australia and Western Europe.