PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding

PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding

As many as 3,500 couples from all over the world tied the knot at a mass wedding in South Korea organised by the controversial Unification Church a year after its founder died.

PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding

Row upon row of couples, dressed in white dresses and tuxedos, met at the Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong, about 37 miles northeast of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, for their big day. 

A further 24,000 followers, who have been dubbed 'Moonies' after the church's founder Sun Myung Moon, were also married in other countries via video link.

The ceremony was presided over by Hak Ja-han - the widow of Sun Myung Moon, who died in September.  

Moon founded the church, officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in 1954 and it is considered one of the world's most controversial religious organisations.  In 1992 he declared that he and his wife were messiahs.

Critics have vilified the group in the past as heretical and a dangerous cult, questioning its murky finances and accusing it of indoctrinating followers which the church denies. 

Thousands of followers gathered at the funeral of Moon in September and he was buried at a church-owned mansion modelled on the White House after a two-week mourning period. 

The Unification Church claims to have 3million followers around the world, although critics say the figure is no more than 100,000.

Moon, a staunch anti-communist who ran a business empire as well as a church and spent 30 years living in the United States, was born in what is now North Korea in 1920 and escaped to the South in 1950 after being sentenced to hard labour.

He died aged 92 on September 3 of complications due to pneumonia.

His wife remains the symbolic head of the mission that oversees the entire Tongil, Korean for 'Unification' group.

View more photos below

PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding
PHOTOS: 3500 Couples Tie The Knot In A Mass Wedding

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