Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch tests positive for COVID-19 - statement

Porfirije, the new Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, leaves after a holy liturgy at Archangel Michael Cathedral in Belgrade, Serbia, February 19, 2021. REUTERS/Marko Djurica//File Photo

BELGRADE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Porfirije, the 46th Patriarch of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church, the country's largest Christian denomination, tested positive for COVID-19, his office said on Tuesday.

Porfirije, 60, "remains with very mild symptoms and ... will be treated at home", his office said in a statement.

"His Holiness has ... has been prescribed appropriate therapy," it said. "He prays for doctors and medical staff and especially for everyone affected by the epidemic."

Last year Porfirije also went into isolation after being in contact with an infected priest. read more

COVID-19 has so far infected 1,359,544 people and killed 12,936 in Serbia, a country of around 7 million.

After a lull in December, infection rates in the Balkan country surged in January with the onset of more contagious Omicron strain of COVID-19.

Last February, Porfirije succeeded Patriarch Irinej who died from COVID-19 in November 2020 at the age of 90. read more

The Serbian Orthodox Church has about 12 million followers, mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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