3500 Marry in South Korea Mass Wedding


    [Thousands of Unification Church members got married in a mass wedding in South Korea Sunday – the first since the death of their [messiah] and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. Some 3,500 identically-dressed couples – many of mixed nationality who had met just days before – took part in the ceremony at the church's global headquarters in Gapyeong, east of the capital Seoul. Mass weddings, some held in giant sports stadia with tens of thousands of couples, have long been a signature feature of the church and one that [Moonie] critics have pointed to as evidence of cult underpinnings. Sunday's event carried a special resonance, with Moon's 70-year-old widow Hak Ja Han presiding for the first time without her husband who died five months ago, aged 92, of complications from pneumonia.

    The church's mass weddings began in the early 1960s. At first, they involved just a few dozen couples but the numbers mushroomed over the years. In 1997, 30,000 couples tied the knot in Washington, and two years later around 21,000 filled the Olympic Stadium in Seoul. Nearly all were personally matched by Moon, who taught that romantic love led to sexual promiscuity, mismatched couples and dysfunctional societies. Many were married just hours after meeting for the first time, and Moon's preference for cross-cultural, international marriages meant that they often shared no common language. In recent years, matchmaking responsibilities have shifted towards parents, but 400 of the church members married on Sunday had chosen to be paired off a few days before at an [engagement ceremony] presided over by Moon's widow]. – Agence France-Presse


    Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)


    Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 17, 2013. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)




    Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, the second wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)


    Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, the second wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)




    Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of her groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


    Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of her groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




    Newlyweds descend the escalator during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


    Newlyweds descend the escalator during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




    Thousands of newlyweds attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


    Thousands of newlyweds attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




    A bride waits for her groom during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


    A bride waits for her groom during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




    Newlyweds celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


    Newlyweds celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




    Brides take their souvenir pictures each others before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


    Brides take their souvenir pictures each others before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




    Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


    Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




    A newly-married couple takes a nap before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


    A newly-married couple takes a nap before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




    A newlywed couple celebrates during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


    A newlywed couple celebrates during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




    Two brides look at their mobile phones during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    Two brides look at their mobile phones during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    A newly-married bride talks on the phone during a mass wedding of the Unification Church held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    A newly-married bride talks on the phone during a mass wedding of the Unification Church held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    Hak Ja Han Moon (R), the widow of the late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples during the church's mass wedding that took place in its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    Hak Ja Han Moon (R), the widow of the late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples during the church's mass wedding that took place in its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    Rows of newly-wedded brides and grooms stand and mingle at the Unification Church's mass wedding held at its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013, that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    Rows of newly-wedded brides and grooms stand and mingle at the Unification Church's mass wedding held at its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013, that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    Newly-married couples hold hands to pray during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church and held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013 that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    Newly-married couples hold hands to pray during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church and held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013 that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    Couples attend a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    Couples attend a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




    A couple has their photograph taken during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


    A couple has their photograph taken during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)

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3500 Marry in South Korea Mass Wedding


[Thousands of Unification Church members got married in a mass wedding in South Korea Sunday – the first since the death of their [messiah] and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. Some 3,500 identically-dressed couples – many of mixed nationality who had met just days before – took part in the ceremony at the church's global headquarters in Gapyeong, east of the capital Seoul. Mass weddings, some held in giant sports stadia with tens of thousands of couples, have long been a signature feature of the church and one that [Moonie] critics have pointed to as evidence of cult underpinnings. Sunday's event carried a special resonance, with Moon's 70-year-old widow Hak Ja Han presiding for the first time without her husband who died five months ago, aged 92, of complications from pneumonia.

The church's mass weddings began in the early 1960s. At first, they involved just a few dozen couples but the numbers mushroomed over the years. In 1997, 30,000 couples tied the knot in Washington, and two years later around 21,000 filled the Olympic Stadium in Seoul. Nearly all were personally matched by Moon, who taught that romantic love led to sexual promiscuity, mismatched couples and dysfunctional societies. Many were married just hours after meeting for the first time, and Moon's preference for cross-cultural, international marriages meant that they often shared no common language. In recent years, matchmaking responsibilities have shifted towards parents, but 400 of the church members married on Sunday had chosen to be paired off a few days before at an [engagement ceremony] presided over by Moon's widow]. – Agence France-Presse


Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)


Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 17, 2013. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)




Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, the second wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)


Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, the second wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)




Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of her groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of her groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




Newlyweds descend the escalator during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


Newlyweds descend the escalator during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




Thousands of newlyweds attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


Thousands of newlyweds attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




A bride waits for her groom during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


A bride waits for her groom during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




Newlyweds celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


Newlyweds celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




Brides take their souvenir pictures each others before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


Brides take their souvenir pictures each others before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




A newly-married couple takes a nap before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)


A newly-married couple takes a nap before their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in the Unification Church's mass wedding arranged by Hak Ja Han Moon, a wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. (Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)




A newlywed couple celebrates during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)


A newlywed couple celebrates during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul February 17, 2013. 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 3,500 couples attended the mass wedding on Sunday. (Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)




Two brides look at their mobile phones during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


Two brides look at their mobile phones during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




A newly-married bride talks on the phone during a mass wedding of the Unification Church held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


A newly-married bride talks on the phone during a mass wedding of the Unification Church held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




Hak Ja Han Moon (R), the widow of the late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples during the church's mass wedding that took place in its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


Hak Ja Han Moon (R), the widow of the late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples during the church's mass wedding that took place in its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




Rows of newly-wedded brides and grooms stand and mingle at the Unification Church's mass wedding held at its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013, that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


Rows of newly-wedded brides and grooms stand and mingle at the Unification Church's mass wedding held at its headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013, that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




Newly-married couples hold hands to pray during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church and held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013 that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


Newly-married couples hold hands to pray during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church and held in the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013 that saw some 3,500 couples matched by the church tie the knot. The Unification Church, set up by Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1954, is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, and its devotees are often dubbed [Moonies] after the founder. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




Couples attend a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


Couples attend a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)




A couple has their photograph taken during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)


A couple has their photograph taken during a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church in Gapyeong on February 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married in a mass wedding organised by the Unification Church on February 17 – the first such event since the death of their "messiah" and controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon. (Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP Photo)

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