Weddings are usually (or hopefully) a joyous occasion, and one rapturous ceremony in South Korea actually saw four thousand couples tie the knot at the same time.
Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon founded the Unification Church in 1954 and acted as its messiah until his death in 2012. Moon’s followers have been both playfully and derisively referred to as “Moonies” with figures and sects within the church embracing and rejecting it at times.
The Unification Church claims that Jesus was attempting to form a “true family” through a unified Christianity and that Moon and his second wife’s sacred marriage exemplified the perfect family bond. Some scholars and researchers believe the Unification Church to be a cult that brainwashes its believers into following a false prophet. Moon was jailed in America for a time because of a tax evasion conviction.
Every year, many couples take part in what is called a “cosmic blessing ceremony,” where they get married to honor Moon and his teachings, hoping to attain “true families” of their own in both their union and in their practice of the religion.
The mass wedding occurred on the five-year anniversary of Moon’s death with 4,000 couples from 64 countries participating in-person and additionally 20,000 video chatting their presence in.
Sun Jin Moon, one of the late reverend’s 16 children and a prominent figure in the church, delivered blessings and remarks at the event, proclaiming “We pray that your sun will rise and the light of truth will evaporate all suffering from this earth.”
Another interesting facet about this auspicious wedding? A great deal of the brides and grooms were brought together by parents, who chose matches for their children.
In the case of Vanessa, a woman from Singapore, the wedding was a finale after many long and intense Skype conversations and social media messages with her betrothed, a man her parents selected from Austria.
Despite the ceremony deviating from the norm in many ways, Vanessa isn’t the least troubled.
Gushing, she told the press: “Everyone is also brother and sister. It makes everything more memorable and precious because all of us are sharing this precious moment together centering upon our heavenly parents.”