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Funeral for Rev. Sun Myung Moon draws thousands in South Korea

Kim Jae-Hwan / AFP - Getty Images

Unification Church honour guards carry the coffin containing late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon during his funeral ceremony at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Tens of thousands of mourners were expected to turn out for the elaborate funeral in South Korea of their "messiah" and controversial Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon.

Ahn Young-Joon / AP

Bereaved family members carry a coffin containing a body of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church, during his funeral service at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea on Saturday.

Lee Jae-Won / Reuters

Han Hak-ja, widow of Evangelist Reverend Sun-Myung Moon, sits beside the coffin containing Moon's body during a funeral service for the late, founder of the Unification Church, at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, about 37 miles northeast of Seoul. Sun-Myung Moon, 92, a self-declared messiah who founded the church which has millions of followers around the world, died at a retreat in Gapyeong on September 3.

Jung Yeon-Je / AFP - Getty Images

Hyung-Jin Moon (3rd L), Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon's youngest son and successor and followers gesture for the late Moon during his funeral ceremony. More than 30,000 mourners, many weeping openly, attended the elaborate, flower-strewn funeral in South Korea on September 15 of their "messiah" and Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon.

Jung Yeon-Je / AFP - Getty Images

Unification Church followers take pictures in front of a large hillside museum (top), where the body of the late Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon is placed, in the church's estate in Gapyeong, about 60 km east of Seoul, on Friday, a day before his funeral. The funeral ceremony is expected to draw 35,000 mourners including 15,000 from abroad.

Unification Church patriarch Sun Myung Moon was 92 when he died on Sept. 3. Famous for conducting mass weddings, he said:

"International and intercultural marriages are the quickest way to bring about an ideal world of peace," Moon said in a 2009 autobiography titled "As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen."

"People should marry across national and cultural boundaries with people from countries they consider to be their enemies so that the world of peace can come that much more quickly."   

Related story: Feuds a concern as children inherit Moon's empire

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