Unification Church mass wedding in South Korea | The Wider Image

March 14, 2016
A newlywed couple takes a selfie after a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, March 3, 2015. The Unification Church founded by evangelist reverend Moon Sun-myung in Seoul in 1954, performed its first mass wedding in 1961 with 33 couples. Approximately 3,800 couples from around the world attended the mass wedding on Tuesday.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION) - RTR4RUJI

(A newlywed couple takes a selfie after a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

About 3,000 couples from 62 countries tied the knot in South Korea in a mass wedding ceremony conducted by the Unification Church founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

A further 12,000 couples worldwide participated in the ceremony via the Internet, said Ryu Kyeung-seuk, president of the South Korean headquarters of the church.

Moon, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, had presided over mass weddings since the early 1960s.

His widow, Hak Ja Han Moon, officiated at the ceremony, which was witnessed by about 22,000 church followers and guests gathered at the church’s CheongShim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong northeast of Seoul.

The couples included 1,000 who were newly wed and about 2,000 who were already married and seeking to re-dedicate their marriages and families to God as they had married before joining the church.

“We’ve been engaged for over one year now, mostly been separated, so of course it’s extremely good to be together again,” said Hyo-joo Song, from Britain, who married his Japanese wife.

“And yes, we’re happy to be married and also share that experience with many other people.”

Moon was a lightning rod for controversy and was once jailed in the United States for tax evasion. He also declared in 1992 that he and his wife were messiahs.

Critics over the years have called the organisation a cult, questioning its finances and how it indoctrinates followers, who are sometimes derogatorily known as “Moonies.”

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SLIDESHOW

Lee Hee Wolf from the U.S. fixes her wedding dress.

Lee Hee Wolf from the U.S. fixes her wedding dress.

Japanese brides receive a makeover.

Japanese brides receive a makeover.

Meena Okamoto from the U.S. talks with her groom Jaronce Dutil of Canada.

Meena Okamoto from the U.S. talks with her groom Jaronce Dutil of Canada.

Couples pass time during the opening ceremony for the mass wedding.

Couples pass time during the opening ceremony for the mass wedding.

Kim Sung-hyun (left) and Jeon Lee-ju from South Korea pray.

Kim Sung-hyun (left) and Jeon Lee-ju from South Korea pray.

Yoo Jung-seuk from South Korea (left) and Tasaka Yumi from Japan pose for photographs.

Yoo Jung-seuk from South Korea (left) and Tasaka Yumi from Japan pose for photographs.

A couple wait before orientation.

A couple wait before orientation.

Couples rehearse in front of a portrait of the late evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja.

Couples rehearse in front of a portrait of the late evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja.

A newly-wed couple prays during the mass wedding ceremony.

A newly-wed couple prays during the mass wedding ceremony.

A girl queues for the toilet.

A girl queues for the toilet.

A bride walks past grooms queuing for the toilet.

A bride walks past grooms queuing for the toilet.

A groom takes a selfie with a cardboard cut-out of late evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife.

A groom takes a selfie with a cardboard cut-out of late evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife.

A newly-wed couple celebrates.

A newly-wed couple celebrates.

Source: Mass wedding in South Korea | The Wider Image | Reuters

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