Serbia's Government declared on Friday three-day mourning until Sunday, following the death of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Irinej who passed away earlier this morning from COVID-19-related complications after spending 16 days in a military hospital.
The Serb-dominated Bosnia's entity Republika Srpska (RS) also declared the three-day mourning with national flags at half-mast and cultural and sports events adjusted to that.
Later on Friday, the coastal town of Budva in Montenegro, also declared a day of mourning on Monday, a day after the Patriarch's funeral in Belgrade.
Irinej was admitted to the hospital on November 4, after developing mild coronavirus symptoms.
He was reported relatively stable in the last several days, but his health suddenly deteriorated on Thursday, according to the doctors.
Patriarch Irinej attended the funeral of Bishop AmfilohijeRadovic on November 1.
The casket was open despite the Bishop also died from COVID-19 and Irinej was suspected to have been infected during the funeral attended by many people amid the epidemic.
In the meantime, state officials, politicians and public figures are sending condolences over the Patriarch's deaths. They described the late SPC head as "the symbol of spiritual unity," the voice of sanity, reconciliation, forgiveness and the Christianity moral," adding "his death is an irreparable loss."
Serbia's Foreign Ministry instructed the country's embassies all diplomatic and consular missions abroad to open the book of condolences following the Patriarch death. Under the current epidemiological situation, the entry in the book will comply with all binding preventive measures and recommendations for the protection of public health of the competent authorities in the receiving country, the Ministry says.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to his Serbia's counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
"Dear President, accept my sincere condolences for that huge loss, the death of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej," the Sputnik outlet quoted Putin as saying.
As he said, Irinej's "main efforts were the promotion of the highest spiritual values, but also the strengthening of the unity of the entire Orthodox world."
"Please convey my condolences and words of support to the entire clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as to the entire Serbian fraternal people," Putin added.
Later in the day, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Epiphany and the deputy of the Department for External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, also sent their condolences.
Also later on Friday, the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi tweeted his condolences to Serbia's people.
French President Emmanuel Macron also sent condolences to Vucic in his tweet in Serbian in Cyrillic.
Позвао сам председника Александра Вучића да му изразим саучешће по сазнању тужне вести о одласку патријарха Иринеја. Француска се придружује свим Србима у жалости.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron)November 20, 2020
He said France joined all the Serbs in mourning.
Late on Saturday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent condolences over the Patriarch’s death to the SPC Synod, saying he would be remembered by his faith, wisdom and love.
My deepest condolences on the passing of His Holiness, Serbian Patriarch Irinej. He led the Serbian Orthodox Church for more than a decade and will be remembered for his strong and inspiring leadership through faith, wisdom, and love.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo)November 21, 2020
The US embassy retweeted his message in Serbian.