Thousands join Moon for mass wedding in South Korea

Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:01am EDT
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SEOUL (Reuters) - About 2,500 couples from around the world exchanged or reaffirmed wedding vows at a South Korean stadium on Saturday and got a blessing from the founder of the Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

The 92-year-old Moon and his wife sprinkled "holy water" over a group of couples called onto the stage and declared them bound in wedlock.

"This whole experience has been absolutely amazing. I mean really, really happy," said Chouchane Saemie, a bridegroom from Britain.

A church spokesman said that in addition to the 2,500 couples from more than 50 countries at the ceremony at a church stadium in Gapyeong, 75 km (50 miles) from Seoul, another 2,700 couples joined in via the Internet.

More than 15,000 followers and guests gathered at the stadium for the ceremony, he said.

"The mass wedding leads all mankind to be one, removing the boundaries of ethnicities, religions and nationalities," said senior South Korean church official Seuk Joon-ho.

"Our goal is making the world peaceful with forming new families."

The brides wore white and the bridegrooms tuxedos.

Moon founded the church, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in 1954 and declared in 1992 that he and his wife were messiahs. The church considers the Korean peninsula sacred.   Continued...

Newlyweds celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul March 24, 2012. The Unification Church founded by evangelist reverend Moon Sun-myung in Seoul in 1954, performed its first mass wedding in 1961 with 33 couples. Five thousand and two hundred couples attended the mass wedding on Saturday. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won