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Unification Church mourns Sun Myung Moon

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A woman walks past the picture of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at a Unification Church in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. The Unification Church's founder Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

A woman walks past the picture of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at a Unification Church in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. The Unification Church's founder Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Koji Sasahara

Followers of the Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon pay respect at a church in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Followers of the Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon pay respect at a church in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Koji Sasahara

FILE - In this Saturday, June 25, 2005 file photo, Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks during his "Now is God's Time" rally in New York. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel)

FILE - In this Saturday, June 25, 2005 file photo, Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks during his "Now is God's Time" rally in New York. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel)

John Marshall Mantel

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 1997 file photo, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, center left, and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon officiate a mass wedding ceremony during at RFK Stadium in Washington. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 1997 file photo, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, center left, and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon officiate a mass wedding ceremony during at RFK Stadium in Washington. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Pak Bo-hi, chairman and president of The Korean Cultural Foundation, speaks about the funeral of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon at CheongShim Medical Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Pak Bo-hi, chairman and president of The Korean Cultural Foundation, speaks about the funeral of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon at CheongShim Medical Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Ahn Young-joon

A woman prays near the extra editions reporting about the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at an Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012.  Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A woman prays near the extra editions reporting about the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at an Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Lee Jin-man

In this photo distributed on Dec. 7, 1991, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, left, toasts with North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in North Korea. Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT

In this photo distributed on Dec. 7, 1991, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, left, toasts with North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in North Korea. Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, left, and his wife Hak Ja Han, are shown during the traditional invocation of a blessing at a mass wedding in Seoul's Chamsil gymnasium where 6,000 couples from about 80 countries were married. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died at age 92 Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, left, and his wife Hak Ja Han, are shown during the traditional invocation of a blessing at a mass wedding in Seoul's Chamsil gymnasium where 6,000 couples from about 80 countries were married. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, died at age 92 Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

Anonymous

FILE - In this July 4, 1985 file photo, Rev. Sun Myung Moon smiles and waves as he leaves the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn. Moon, who heads the Unification Church, was jailed last July on tax evasion charges. He left Danbury to serve the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house in Brooklyn, N.Y. Rev. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

FILE - In this July 4, 1985 file photo, Rev. Sun Myung Moon smiles and waves as he leaves the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn. Moon, who heads the Unification Church, was jailed last July on tax evasion charges. He left Danbury to serve the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house in Brooklyn, N.Y. Rev. Moon, self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, has died at age 92 church officials said Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

Bob Child

A woman walks past the picture of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at a Unification Church in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. The Unification Church's founder Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who founded the church, died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, church officials said. He was 92.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The Unification Church declared 13 days of mourning today for its controversial founder the Rev Sun Myung Moon.

The 92-year-old self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire died yesterday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, north east of Seoul, South Korea, two weeks after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul said. His wife and children were at his side.

The church will start accepting mourners at a multi-purpose gym at its nearby religious centre on Thursday, Mr Ahn said.

The funeral will be held on September 15 and Moon will be buried at Cheonseung Mountain, near his home.

Moon founded his Bible-based religion in Seoul in 1954, a year after the Korean War ended, saying Jesus Christ personally called on him to complete his work.

The church gained fame - and notoriety - by marrying thousands of followers in mass ceremonies presided over by Moon himself. The couples often came from different countries and had never met, but were matched up by Moon in a bid to build a multi-cultural religious world.

The church has been accused of using devious recruitment tactics and duping followers out of money. Parents of followers in the United States and elsewhere have expressed worries that their children were brainwashed into joining. Moon's followers were often called "Moonies", a term many found pejorative.



Belfast Telegraph


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