The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, died in a Belgrade hospital on Friday after contracting coronavirus, according to a statement by the church.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić confirmed the death on Instagram, posting a photo of Irinej with the caption: “I was honored to know you. People like you never depart.”
Irinej was admitted to hospital on November 4 after he tested positive for Covid-19. An earlier statement from the Serbian Orthodox Church said he was intubated after his condition deteriorated Thursday.
He had been at the funeral of the late Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, Amfilohije Radović, in Podgorica, Montenegro, on November 1, who also died of coronavirus-related ailments.
According to CNN affiliate N1 Serbia, Radović’s body was in an open casket during the service before being interred in the crypt of the church. N1 reported that a large crowd gathered in front of the crowded church, with few of the people in the church and none of the priests wearing masks.
Born Miroslav Gavrilović on August 27, 1930, Irinej was enthroned as the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs in 2010.