The founder of the Unification Church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon has died. AP reports:
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who turned his Unification Church into a worldwide religious movement and befriended North Korean leaders as well as U.S. presidents, has died, church officials said Monday. He was 92.
Moon died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press. Moon’s wife and children were at his side, Ahn said.
Moon, born in a town that is now in North Korea, founded his religious movement in Seoul in 1954 after surviving the Korean War. He preached new interpretations of lessons from the Bible.
The church gained fame — and notoriety — in the 1970s and 1980s for holding mass weddings of thousands of followers, often from different countries, whom Moon matched up in a bid to build a multicultural religious world.
As he grew older, Moon quietly handed over day-to-day control of his multibillion-dollar religious and business empire, which included dozens of companies ranging from hospitals and universities to a ballet troupe, to his children.