Chicago, July 3, 2020
While the coronavirus pandemic may be preventing the Orthodox members of the Chicago Motorcycle Brigade from traveling to Montenegro to support their persecuted brethren of the Serbian Orthodox Church, they have their own way of drawing attention to the plight of the Church in the tiny Balkan nation.
Four members of the brigade, Boban Mijović, Nemanja Kežić, Mirko Tomašević, and Nikola Jovanović—natives of Montenegro, Serbia, and Republika Srpska—have set off on a 15-day, 4,000-mile multi-state motorcycle ride under the slogan, “We won’t give up our shrines”—the same slogan under which the faithful march in Montenegro, reports Serbian Times.
“Due to global events and the epidemic, we are currently unable to personally go and support our brothers and sisters who go out to protect their holy places, so we decided to contribute to their fight this way,” explained Boban Mijovic, a native of Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, before the start of the rally.
“We communed on Vidovdan, as did our glorious ancestors before the Battle of Kosovo. After the Liturgy, we began our little battle,” he said.
The bikers are traveling from Chicago to Denver, to Yellowstone National Park, to Teton Village (Wyoming), to Jackson (California), to Bryce Canyon (Utah), to Canyonlands (Utah), to White River (Nevada), then back to Denver and to Chicago for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on July 12.
The trip was blessed by Fr. Alexander Petrović of St. Stephen of Dečani Orthodox Church in Chicago.
“I bless you so that upon your return, we can again gather for the holy Liturgy and together thank God. With your initiative, on behalf of the entire Serbian Orthodox community of Chicago, you will peacefully protest against the situation in Montenegro, where a controversial law on religious freedom has been adopted, and provide moral support to the Serbian Orthodox Church,” Fr. Alexander said.
And the bikers voiced their message to the faithful in Montenegro:
We want to tell our brothers in Montenegro to be persistent in the fight and never lose heart, because they are fighting for what our ancestors built and preserved for centuries, to be, and we with them, worthy of the glorious Serbian ancestors. We hope that God will enlighten the dictatorial regime and its servants to withdraw the shameful law, and that … they will repent and go out with the people and thus “buy tickets” for the Kingdom of Heaven. And, until then, a message for all of them: “We will not give up our shrines” next year in Prizren!