Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Serbian patriarch buried with few virus measures in place
AP

Serbian patriarch buried with few virus measures in place

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Thousands of people on Sunday attended the funeral of Serbian Patriarch Irinej who died after contracting the coronavirus, many ignoring preventive measures against the pandemic.

Many mourners and most priests holding the funeral service in the massive St. Sava Temple in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, didn't wear masks or adhere to social distancing inside the church, kissing the glass shield covering Irinej’s remains and even using a single spoon during Holy Communion.

Irinej, 90, died on Friday, three weeks after attending the funeral of another cleric in neighboring Montenegro in which mourners kissed his remains lying in an open casket although he also died from COVID-19 complications.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has asked mourners to keep their distance and wear face masks in line with the anti-virus recommendations, but even priests inside the temple were without masks. Serbian epidemiologists have said there was no way they could ban the traditional funeral prayers.

After reporting thousands of daily new cases of infections in the country of 7 million people, authorities have warned that the health system has been overburdened with hospitals running out of beds.

Patriarch Irinej wielded considerable political influence in the Balkan country. The patriarch was known for his criticism of Western policies in the Balkans and close ties he developed with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Serbia’s top leadership attended the funeral, including President Aleksandar Vucic, who spoke about Irinej’s legacy and praised his efforts to complete the construction of the St. Sava Temple, the biggest Orthodox church in the Balkans.

“I’m ready to say, if it wasn't for Irinej, it would have taken several more decades to complete this temple,” Vucic said.

Irinej was later buried in the crypt inside the temple.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena has been arrested in Mexico’s Yucatan state for a situation involving an apparent custody dispute, two weeks after he won the Babe Ruth award for the Most Valuable Player in the postseason.

  • Updated

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s military is warning civilians in the besieged Tigray regional capital that there will be “no mercy” if they don’t “save themselves” before a final offensive to flush out defiant regional leaders — a threat that Human Rights Watch on Sunday said could violate international law.

  • Updated

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is supporting demands for racial justice in the wake of the U.S. police killing of George Floyd and is blasting COVID-19 skeptics and media organizations that spread their conspiracies in a new book penned during the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown.

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Mourners on Saturday were paying respects following the death of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej, many ignoring preventive measures against the new coronavirus even though the head of the church died after contracting the virus himself.

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The European Union’s mission to ensure the rule of law in Kosovo said Friday that human remains that appear to be a mass grave of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo have been found in a disused coal mine in southern Serbia.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News