Mass wedding in South Korea

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Mass wedding in South Korea
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Mass wedding in South Korea
Newlywed couples attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Yoo Jung-seuk of South Korea (C) and Tasaka Yumi of Japan celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Han Hak-ja (2nd R), widow of Evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung, sprays holy water to bless newlywed couples during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A groom takes a selfie with a cardboard cut-out of late evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung (L) and his wife Han Hak-ja during a break in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Newlywed couples attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A bride cries during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A girl queues to get to a toilet with brides during a break in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Brides take a selfie during a break in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A bride walks past grooms queuing to go to the toilet during a break in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Newlywed couples attend a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Brides queue to go to the toilet during a break in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A newlywed couple prays during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A newlywed couple celebrates during a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, South Korea, February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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About 3,000 couples from 62 countries tied the knot in South Korea in a mass wedding ceremony conducted by the Unification Church founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

A further 12,000 couples worldwide participated in the ceremony via the Internet, said Ryu Kyeung-seuk, president of the South Korean headquarters of the church.

Moon, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, had presided over mass weddings since the early 1960s.

His widow, Hak Ja Han Moon, officiated at the ceremony, which was witnessed by about 22,000 church followers and guests gathered at the church's CheongShim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong northeast of Seoul.

SEE MORE: An inside look at an Orthodox Jewish wedding

The couples included 1,000 who were newly wed and about 2,000 who were already married and seeking to re-dedicate their marriages and families to God as they had married before joining the church.

"We've been engaged for over one year now, mostly been separated, so of course it's extremely good to be together again," said Hyo-joo Song, from Britain, who married his Japanese wife.

"And yes, we're happy to be married and also share that experience with many other people."

Moon was a lightning rod for controversy and was once jailed in the United States for tax evasion. He also declared in 1992 that he and his wife were messiahs.

Critics over the years have called the organization a cult, questioning its finances and how it indoctrinates followers, who are sometimes derogatorily known as "Moonies."

Thousands Tie the Knot in South Korea's Mass Wedding

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