Leader of Serbian Orthodox Church Hospitalized With Coronavirus 

The 90-year-old leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, was sent to a military hospital in Belgrade this week after testing positive for the coronavirus, according to the church.His hospitalization Wednesday came days after the patriarch led prayers at the funeral of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, Bishop Amfilohije, who died of COVID-19.FILE – A nun kisses Bishop Amfilohije during the liturgy and funeral in the main temple in Podgorica, Montenegro, Nov. 1, 2020. The bishop, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, died after contracting COVID-19.During the funeral at the church in Montenegro, prevention measures were not observed. Mourners did not wear masks. They kissed the body of the bishop as it lay in a coffin and did not keep their distance from one another.A statement from his office said Patriarch Irinej was “without symptoms and is in excellent health.”Serbia and Montenegro have seen a rise in coronavirus cases, and authorities warned the funeral could be a super-spreader event and a public health threat.Many mourners, including a top Montenegro cleric, Bishop Joanikije, reportedly contracted the virus after the funeral. He now suffers from mild pneumonia.Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Montenegrin Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic also attended the funeral of Bishop Amfilohije.Bishop Amfilohije was a powerful cleric who did not observe COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks.

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