21 Surreal Photos From A Moonie Mass Wedding

More than 3,500 couples participated in the first Unification Church mass wedding since the death of founder Sun Myung Moon five months ago. posted on

1. Thousands of Unification Church members, known as “Moonies,” got married in a mass wedding in South Korea Sunday — the first since the death of controversial church founder Sun Myung Moon.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

2. Rev. Moon’s 70-year-old widow, Hak Ja Han, presided over the “Blessing Ceremony.” Men and women from around the world traveled to Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 37 miles northeast of Seoul, to have their union blessed by “Mother Moon

KIM JAE-HWAN / AFP / Getty Images

3. Mass weddings and arranged marriages have always been a staple of the church, which teaches that romantic love leads to sexual promiscuity, mismatched couples, and dysfunctional societies.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

4. Although matchmaking responsibilities have shifted to parents in recent years, many couples still choose to have the church arrange their marriages. Of the followers married on Sunday, 400 were officially paired mere days before the ceremony.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

5. Those who choose to be matched by the church must confirm under oath that they are virgins, and after their wedding the couple must refrain from sexual relations for a minimum of 40 days.

Lee Jin-man / AP

6. The church’s preference for cross-cultural pairs means that newlyweds will often share no common language.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

7. “I’ve been waiting for him all my life,” a bride from Trinidad and Tobago told AFP when asked about her Polish husband. “Language isn’t such an issue. We’re connected by the church.”

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

8. “We struggle a little to communicate right now,” an American groom agreed, referring to his Japanese bride. “We see it as an exciting challenge and proof of our faith.”

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

9. An additional 12,000 couples around the world participated in the ceremony via a live internet feed.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

10. Members of the Unification Church acknowledge their “True Mother,” Hak Ja Han, who officiated the ceremony.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

11. The Unification Church believes that through the “Blessing Ceremony,” couples are cleansed of humanity’s sin, as are their future children. It can be both a wedding and a rededication of vows.

Lee Jin-man / AP

12. The ceremony consists of a recitation of four vows, an exchanging of rings, and a blessing with holy water.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
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Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

14. Each couple vows to live a life of purity, follow the example set by Rev. Moon and his wife (who are referred to as the “True Family”), raise children in the church, and become “an ideal family which contributes to world peace.”

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

[Source: Unification.org]

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Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

17. Hak Ja Han, “Mother Moon,” sprinkles the church’s holy water onto newly married couples.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

18. Newlyweds celebrate at the end of the ceremony.

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters
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Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
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Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

21. Some couples celebrate in different ways than others.

Lee Jin-man / AP

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