Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Covidiot News - Another Cleric Catches Covid After Attending a Super-Spreader Event

Patriarch Porfirije, Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
Head of Serbian Orthodox Church tests positive for virus

The Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 60-year-old Patriarch Porfirije, has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a super-spreader event last Sunday in Republika Srpska, the Serb-run part of neighbouring Bosnia, established as an autonomous republic at the end of the war following the collapse of Yugoslavia, in which Serbian Orthodox Christian forces, with the support and encouragement of the Orthodox Church, indulged in ethnic cleansing and genocide against Bosniak Moslems. Last Sunday (January 7) was the Serbian Orthodox Christmas.

Patriarch Porfirije's immediate predecessor, Patriarch Irinej, died of COVID-19 but the Serbian Orthodox Church has continued to hold masses in which few participants wear masks, despite the rapidly-spreading omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Weekly Covid-19 cases (top) and deaths (bottom), Serbia
Last week there were 47,749 new cases and 152 deaths in a population of 7 million. Since the pandemic started, there have been 1.3 million cases in Serbia, of which nearly 13,000 have died.

According to Reuters, a number of Serbian Orthodox clergy have contracted the coronavirus since early 2020, including Irinej and Metropolitan Amfilohije, the church’s patriarch in neighbouring Montenegro who died from the respiratory disease last October. Despite the pandemic, the Orthodox Church - with some 12 million faithful mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro, has continued religious services and most of its clerics including Porfirije have appeared in public without face masks.

In common with other Christian churches and other religions, the Orthodox Church has been a major factor in spreading the coronavirus by continuing to hold mass gatherings in which social distancing and wearing face masks is generally ignored or even discouraged. Consequently, despite early pronouncements that the pandemic was a punishment from God, selectively directed at unbelievers, Clerics of all religions, and worshippers at their services have been some of the people most at risk from dying of the virus, yet they have continued to demand special exemptions from any measures to mitigate the pandemic, believers apparently believing their piety gives them special protection.

The reality is that the most pious are also the least likely to be vaccinated, the most likely to catch the virus, the most likely to spread the virus to others and the most likely to die from COVID-19.

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