ASAN, SOUTH KOREA -- Many people choose to get married in the spring, especially in June. But thousands of members of the Unification Church this year decided to go with October 14, when leader Sun Myung Moon held one of his famous mass weddings to mark his upcoming 90th birthday and next year's 50th anniversary of his marriage to Hak Ja Han, his own third wife.
"I pray that you become good husbands and wives and men and women who can represent the world's six billion humankind," Reverend Moon told the attendees at the Sun Moon University ceremony last week, according to Yahoo! News. The campus is located south of Seoul.
With 21,000 people in attendance either marrying or renewing their vows, it was Reverend Moon's largest "blessing ceremony" in the past decade. The church founder has been conducting mass wedding ceremonies since 1961.
In addition, an estimated 20,000 people around the world conducted similar ceremonies on the same day, according to ListOwn.com.
Reverend Moon is currently handing everyday leadership of the church to three of his 11 sons. However, the men have said that their elderly father is still in charge of the organization and in good health.
Sun Myung Moon, who claims to be the Second Coming of Christ and to have been fulfilling Jesus' unfinished mission, founded the controversial Unification Church in 1954. He now owns the Washington Times, a gun manufacturer, a pro football team, and a ballet troupe among other enterprises. Reverend Moon previously has been married to Sun Kil Choi and Myung Hee Kim.