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Sun Myung Moon’s Mass Weddings (Photos)

See photos of his Sun Myung Moon’s stunning ‘blessing ceremonies.’

AP Photo (4)

John Marshall Mantel / AP Photo

REV SUN MYUNG MOON

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the South Korean leader of the Unification Church, died on Saturday at the age of 92. A controversial figure around the world for his belief that he was a messiah sent to Earth to finish the work of Jesus Christ, Moon nonetheless drew between five and seven million followers to his faith, growing the religion into a multibillion-dollar empire. But he was perhaps best known, especially in the U.S., for his “blessing ceremonies,” in which up to thousands of devotees would gather in front of him to have their marriages rededicated or to be wedded for the first time—sometimes to brides and grooms they had not yet met. Throughout his long life as an evangelist, Moon held blessing ceremonies everywhere from the U.N. headquarters to his own Sun Moon University in South Korea. See photos.

Ahn Young-Joon / AP Photo

In this Aug. 25, 1992 file photo, Moon and his wife wave to some 40,000 believers and supporters during a wedding ceremony at Seoul's Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea. 

Ken Cedeno / AP Photo

Some 28,000 couples participated in a marriage affirmation ceremony officiated by the Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, in 1997 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C..

Ahn Young-Joon / AP Photo

Another ceremony at Seoul's Olympic Stadium in 1999, this time with about 40,000 couples in attendance. Organizers said followers from another 100 nations tuned in through Internet and satellite feeds. 

Ahn Young-Joon / AP Photo

About 4,600 couples attended this ceremony in Cheonan, South Korea, in 2005.

Ahn Young-Joon / AP Photo

Another shot from the Cheonan ceremony. 

Lee Jin-man / AP Photo

At Sun Moon University in Asan, south of Seoul, South Korea, in 2009, the brides wore wedding dresses or their national dress; the men wore black suits with red ties, with white scarves around their necks.