Founder's son takes on SKorea Unification Church leadership

AFP/April 19, 2008

Seoul - The 28-year-old son of South Korea's Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon has succeeded his father as the religious sect's top leader, a church spokesperson said Saturday.

Reverend Hyung Jin Moon on Friday became the Chairman of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), taking charge of the church's world and domestic organisations.

"I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfil his duty as the successor of the True Parents," the 88-year-old founder said at an inauguration ceremony in Gapyeong, 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Seoul, the FFWPU website said. The True Parents refer to the founder and his wife.

The new chairman said he would work "to develop the church and to connect as many people as possible with the True Parents."

"I'll do my best to bring the love of the True Parents and God to every corner of the world," Hyung Jin Moon said, according to the Segye Times newspaper.

Born in New York State in 1979 as the youngest of seven sons, Hyung Jin Moon studied philosophy and theology at Harvard.

He was married at age 18 and has five children.

The Unification Church evangelises in some 200 countries, the spokesperson said, adding that the number of believers is confidential.

The church, one of the world's most controversial religious organisations, was founded in Seoul in 1954.

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