Unification Church to Host Joint Wedding of 20,000 Couples in Feb.

Korean Times, January 28, 2000

The Unification Church will jointly wed 20,000 couples from around the world in Seoul on Feb. 13 as part of its World Culture and Sports Festival 2000, church officials said yesterday.

The joint wedding ceremony, to be held at Seoul Olympic Stadium, will be televised to 185 countries via satellite or Internet broadcast. The week-long festival will begin with an opening ceremony Feb. 9 at Lotte Hotel in central Seoul where about 40 world leaders including former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandes, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Polish president Lech Walesa and former British prime minister Edward Heath. On Feb.12, one day before the wedding ceremony, Unification Church followers, commonly known as ``Moonies,'' will stage a street march near Seoul Station and other downtown streets, pleading for people to maintain purity.

The Unification Church, led by the Rev. Moon Sun-myung, will also begin a painting exhibition Feb. 9 to be attended by renowned South and North Korean artists. In addition, a ceremony will be held Feb. 11 to celebrate the 300th book on the Korean religious leader's teachings.

The Unification Church occasionally organizes mass marriage events for people from around the world.

Moon, who celebrated his 80th birthday last week, arrived in the United States with his Unification Church in 1971. He was later found guilty of tax evasion and spent 13 months in a U.S. prison.

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