Tens of thousands attend Moon funeral

Sept. 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM
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SEOUL, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- About 35,000 people attended the funeral Saturday in South Korea for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah and founder of the Unification Church.

The service ended two weeks of mourning during which 200,000 people attended wakes across the country, CNN reported.

Moon died Sept. 3 at age 92 after he developed complications from pneumonia.

More than a dozen pallbearers dressed in white military-style uniforms carried his red casket through a church filled with flowing flower arrangements, up red-carpeted stairs to an elevated altar.

The eulogy was presented by the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the founder's seventh and youngest son, and his father's successor.

Hyun Jin, Moon's third and oldest living son, did not attend the service but said a separate memorial for his father would be held in the United States, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Hyun Jin, 43, is chairman of the Unification Church International but is embroiled in a legal dispute with the church. He lives in the United States. UCI owns United Press International.

Sun Myung Moon had been a controversial religious figure during much of his ministry, The Daily Telegraph said.

He founded his church in 1954, but was rejected by mainstream Protestant churches when he claimed to be a messiah sent by God to complete Jesus' work.

Moon was famous for officiating at mass weddings where he married hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of couples. He also served a prison sentence in the United States for tax evasion.

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The casket of Rev. Sun Myung Moon enters the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea on September 15, 2012. An estimated 30,000 members of the Unification Church from around the world paid their respects to the church's founder. Moon passed away due to complications from pneumonia at his religious town northeast of Seoul on Monday at the age of 92. UPI/Thomas Michael Corcoran
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