By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Special prayers were offered Sunday morning at Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in support of the opposition and denouncing of the government of Ukraine.

Parishioners and clergy see a parallel between the current turmoil and decades of Soviet oppression.

“We had enough from those Russians,” said Wasyl Macar, who is part of the congregation. “Now I hope we’re going to have a real peace in the Ukraine.”

“Terrible, it’s unbelievable what’s going on,” said parishioner Myron Luszczak.

Luszczak left the Ukraine many years ago, but he’s watching the opposition’s fight against the government with a sense of familiarity, recalling his generation’s struggle against the Soviet regime.

“”(They’re) a bunch of liars,” he said. “A bunch of crooks.”

Luszczak prayed for the triumph of free expression on Sunday morning with Archbishop Stefan Soroka.

“The community here is very concerned about our families in Ukraine,” said Soroka, “those who are suffering as a return to that ideology of trying to control people and tell them what’s good for them.”

The archbishop said the church has a very real stake since religious freedom is threatened by the current government. He asked people of all faith and backgrounds to pray for the opposition.

“‘When there’s an oppression of an expression of faith, it affects everybody,” Soroka said. “It’s a world-wide struggle, and we have to support them and help them and pray for them. We can’t do much else.”

Soroka wrote a statement issued by the Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the U.S., which evoked the American Revolution as inspiration for the opposition in Ukraine.

“Our people are being true to faith, Americans,” he said, “to support people like in Ukraine who are standing up for the truth.”

Luszczak has faith in the opposition.

“Don’t forget, Ukraine survived under Russia a lot of years,” he said. “That’s the point.”

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