By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Church leaders from a number of different backgrounds gathered Sunday evening for a special service to pray for peace in the Ukraine.
Parishioners gathered at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to hear from Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Roman Catholic Church, as they asked the holy mother to protect the people of the Ukraine, and see them through this conflict unharmed.
During the service, Archbishop Chaput tried to calm their fears, saying he was among many people who admire the leaders of the Ukraine and the Ukrainian Church both here and abroad:
“For standing up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For standing up for democratic government, and for the dignity of the human person.”
Speaking with parishioners after the service, many seemed to share a similar view as Andrew Fylypovych of Meadowbrook about the situation in Crimea:
“It’s absolutely unbelievable. The propaganda that the Russians are trying to pull over on the world is remarkable. Calling Ukrainians as being oppressors of Russians is absolute nonsense.”
Vasyl came to the U.S. just one-week ago, and says many people there just want the country to be left alone to grow, and that men are lining up to serve in the armed forces. He also says that the nation is united:
“For this referendum, how they call it, but it’s not legal referendum, they bring people from Russia by busses and they vote like people who live in Crimea.”
Fylypovych, who has relatives living in the Ukraine, agreed that the nation just wants to be left alone:
“Ukraine simply wants to exist on its own, be friendly with everybody, and live a normal life.”
Fylypovych says he’s been in contact with relatives still living in the Ukraine, and while they haven’t encountered any problems yet, he has let them know that they have a place to live here in the U.S. if needed.