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Funeral held for head of Moonies.

Tens of thousands of followers said farewell to self-proclaimed messiah Reverend Sun Myung Moon at his funeral yesterday.

Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, died nearly two weeks ago, aged 92.

His lavish funeral was held near the South Korean capital, Seoul, and was attended by men in black suits and women in white dresses.

The ceremony, which lasted more than two hours, began when men wearing militarystyle uniforms carried Moon's coffin up red-carpeted steps decked with flowers and placed it in front of his huge portrait.

The church, founded by Moon in 1954, claim to have three million followers around the world, though critics said 100,000 is more realistic.

The "Moonies" became famous by holding mass weddings but Moon was accused of brainwashing recruits and duping them out of money.

He served 13 months in a US prison in the mid-1980s over tax charges.

It didn't put off his devoted followers, who believe Moon's claim that he was put on Earth to complete the works of Jesus Christ.

Lee Ok-su, a church choir member, said: "He will be in our minds permanently. He is our benevolent, yet strict, father."

In the years before his death, Moon handed over key responsibilities to his children. One son was appointed the church's religious director in 2008 and another put in charge of business operations in South Korea and Japan.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 16, 2012
Words:233
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