Church patriarch dies from Covid-19 after leading open-casket funeral of bishop killed by the virus
By Martin Goillandeau and Kara Fox, CNN
Updated 1338 GMT (2138 HKT) November 20, 2020
The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, who was 90, died on Friday.
(CNN)The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, died in a Belgrade hospital on Friday after contracting coronavirus, according to a statement from the church.
Irinej, who was 90, led an open-casket funeral service for the church's top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović, on November 1.
Three days later, Irinej was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
Amfilohije's body had been displayed in an open casket during the service before being interred in the crypt of the church in Podgorica, Montenegro.
Patriarch Irinej pays respect to the Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Amfilohije Radović at his funeral in Podgorica, Montenegro on November 1.
A large crowd had gathered in front of the crowded church, with only a few of the attendees inside the building wearing face coverings. Video of the service showed mourners kissing the deceased cleric's hands and forehead, as is custom.
None of the priests, including Irinej, who performed the liturgy, wore masks.
On Friday, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed Irinej's death, posting a photo of him on Instagram with the caption: "I was honored to know you. People like you never depart."