40,000 to marry in Moonie wedding fest in Seoul

Agence France Presse, Jan 28, 2000

The Unification Church will feature a mass wedding of 20,000 couples from around the world at an international festival here next month, a church official said Friday.

The Federation for World Peace, an affiliate of the Unification Church of South Korea's Reverend Moon Sun-Myung, whose followers are known as Moonies, will host the World Culture and Sports Festival 2000 here on February 9-14.

Moon and his wife will preside over the wedding ceremony, which will match 20,000 couples from around the world, Song Jong-Ik of the Federation for World Peace told AFP.

The ceremony, which will take place in the Seoul Olympic Stadium on February 13, will be televised in 185 countries, he said.

Some 40 international VIPs will attend the opening ceremony of the week-long festival.

They include Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandes, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Polish president Lech Walesa, former US vice president Dan Quayle and ex-British prime minister Edward Heath.

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid is also expected to attend a dinner to be hosted by the organizers of the festival, organizers said.

The festival will also feature a procession under the slogan of Chastity: Hope of the New Millennium and a rare inter-Korean fine arts exhibition at Seoul Arts Center on February 9-21.

A year ago, the Unification Church carried out a similar mass wedding here.

The church, whose followers deify Reverend Moon and his teachings, has created enormous controversy here and abroad.

Critics say the church is a sect that brainwashes its followers.

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