Leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, died of coronavirus on Friday, according to the church, three weeks after he attended a packed funeral for an old bishop who had died after receiving the virus.
Patriarch Irinej, 90, was admitted to a military hospital in Serbia on November 4th, just days after he and thousands of masked men gathered in neighboring Montenegro to honor the country’s oldest bishop, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic. whose body lay in an open coffin.
Video from the event showed mourners kissing his body.
The majority of Serbia’s seven million people identify themselves as Orthodox Christians and Patriarch Irinej, born Miroslav Gavrilovic and crowned the 45th church leader in 2010, he was a major political force in the Balkan country. He opposed Serbia’s membership in the European Union if the culture and religion of nations are not respected. And he was sincere in his condemnation of both abortion and gay rights. A women’s task is to give birth in order to regenerate the nation, he once told a local newspaper.
He was also one of several conservative clerics open to a possible rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church to resolve historical hostility.
In 2019, as protests swept across Serbia to oppose the autocratic movement of the country’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, he condemned tens of thousands who took to the streets.
On Friday, Mr. Vuiqi. paid homage to Patriarch Irinej on Instagram.
It was an honor to know you, wrote Mr. Vucic. People like you never leave.
After largely avoiding widespread coronavirus outbreaks in the spring, several Balkan countries, including Serbia, have seen an increase in cases in recent weeks. Serbia announced a record 6,109 new daily cases on Thursday, which likely underestimated the level of infection due to sporadic testing.
Last week, Serbia began fining people for failing to comply with government restrictions, which include the mandatory wearing of a mask.
In Montenegro, where the virus has also spread rapidly, it is halfway to a two-day curfew overnight, with people not allowed to leave their homes between 11am and 5am, except at work essential and medical and humanitarian needs.
In other news around the world:
A state-owned manufacturer of drugs in China reported promising results for one of its two vaccine candidates after administering doses to nearly one million people outside the traditional testing process as part of an emergency use policy. The chairman of the company, Sinopharm, told local news media on Tuesday that only a few people had reported mild symptoms from one of the vaccines and that no one had suffered serious side effects.
FranceThe government announced it was postponing Black Friday, the almost official start to the Christmas shopping season, moving to quell a nationwide rebellion from shopkeepers who say Amazon has been stealing business from them while blocking locations. The government dropped an agreement from Amazon and the countries’ largest retailers to delay their discounts in France until December 4th.
SH.BA and Canada, both facing serious spikes in infections, extended their burden on non-essential cross-border voyages for another month, until December 21st. The situation is serious, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter. Its seven-day average number of new daily cases has increased by 46 percent over the past two weeks and is well over 4,700.
South Korea reported 363 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the highest load of cases since the end of August, when the country was hit by a second wave of infections. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged the public to avoid social gatherings and stay home as much as possible. He also warned that the recent peak, which is concentrated in the Seoul metropolitan area, was threatening the K-quarantine strategy hotspots to fight the virus while keeping the economy afloat.
Officials in the South Australia suddenly ended a tight block after two days, reporting that an infected man had lied when he told contact trackers that he had only been for a short time at the pizza shop where he was exposed, suggesting virulent transmission. The man was actually an employee.
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