Serbian Orthodox Church leader dies from COVID-19 after funeral for virus victim

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The 90-year-old head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej, has died two weeks after testing positive for the COVID-19. He was tested positive after leading prayers at a large public funeral for the head of the Serbian church in Montenegro, who died after contracting the virus.

Thousands of people turned out in Podgorica for that funeral in violation of coronavirus measures. Many mourners were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

The patriarch was in an extremely difficult condition yesterday and was connected to devices for maintaining the work of vital organs.

The Serbian Orthodox Church announced on its website on Thursday that the condition of the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church has worsened, and that in addition to Serbian doctors, Russians are also taking care of his health.

So far, there has been several information related to the patriarch’s health condition, one of them was that his condition had worsened, and then, the doctor’s council concluded on Tuesday, after reviewing the general condition of the treatment so far, the treatment measures now implemented have led to the stabilization of chronic heart failure.

However, the situation was reversed and the patriarch’s blood oxygen level dropped, and his condition worsened.

He has been receiving treatment at the Military Medical Center in Belgrade, since November 5. The day before, it was stated that he was positive for coronavirus.

He was born as Miroslav Gavrilović in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, on August 28, 1930, and he was the 45th supreme head of the Serbian Orthodox Church and bishop of Niš.

He finished elementary school in his native village, high school in Čačak, seminary in Prizren in 1951, and then the Faculty of Theology at the University of Belgrade. He was ordained a monk in the monastery of Rakovica in 1959. He was ordained by the then German (Serbian patriarch), who ordained him to the rank of hierodeacon and hieromonk on September 24 and 27, 1959.

He was a professor at the Prizren Theological Seminary from 1959 to 1968. He completed his postgraduate studies in Athens, where he went to school in 1962/63. years. After that, he was appointed the director of the monastic school in the Ostrog monastery. He was again a professor and rector of the seminary in Prizren in 1971-1974. years.

In May 1974, he was elected Bishop of Moravica, Vicar of Patriarch German. He was elected Bishop of Nis at the session of the Holy Synod of Bishops from May 21 to 28, 1975. He was enthroned on the throne of the bishop of the Diocese of Nis in the Cathedral Church in Nis on June 15, 1975.

He was a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church several times. On January 22, 2010, by the decision of the Electoral Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he was elected Patriarch of Serbia.