Nov. 21 (UPI) — 1000’s of mourners paid respect to the top of the Serbian Orthodox Church Saturday following his demise of COVID-1.

Patriarch Irinej, 90, died Friday in a Belgrade hospital after contracting the virus earlier this month.

Irinej carried out an open-casket funeral service for the church’s prime cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović, Nov. 1, and examined constructive for COVID-19 three days later.

Irinej has been mendacity in state prematurely of his funeral Sunday, and the Serbian authorities has declared three days of nationwide mourning.

On Friday, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic posted a photograph on Irinej on Instagram with the caption: “I used to be honored to know you. Individuals such as you by no means depart.”

Whereas docs cautioned mourners to look at coronavirus security tips, and Irinej’s coffin had a glass cowl to discourage worshippers from kissing the patriarch’s fingers and face, some kissed the coffin regardless — and, at one church occasion, worshippers drank from the identical communion spoon.

Some mourners wore face masks and practiced social distancing as they gathered in church buildings to grieve, however some did neither.

Irinej himself didn’t put on a masks whereas conducting Radović’s service earlier this month, and neither did any of the opposite monks collaborating within the liturgy.