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60 Years since 124 Couples Blessing

124 couples 1963

124 couples of 1963 – the first mass wedding held publicly

124 couples 1963
The Marriage Blessing of 124 couples 24th July 1963. Photo: FFWPU

24th July is a historical day for the Family Federation, and for the brides and grooms who 60 years ago took part in the 124 couples Marriage Blessing Ceremony on that date in 1963, at the Seoul Citizens’ Hall.

This was the first time such a ceremony was held publicly. Up until then, these mass weddings had taken place at the then Unification Church headquarters building at the Cheongpa area in Seoul. The early 1960’s was a time the rapidly growing movement Father Moon had founded just few years earlier, went through fierce persecution. And there had been attempts to have the mass weddings stopped, and even have Sun Myung Moon jailed for holding them.

124 couples 1963
Father and Mother Moon blessing 124 couples 24th July 1963. Photo: FFWPU

But he and the movement continued unabated. In a big publicity stunt, and to demonstrate that these ceremonies had grown – from Father and Mother Moon’s own wedding and the first 3 couples in 1960, to 33 couples the year after, and 72 in 1962 – the newlywed 124 couples in 1963 drove in a motorcade of 150 taxis through downtown Seoul, attracting a lot of attention on the busy streets of the capital.

Father Moon said afterwards that the 36 (3 + 33) and 72 couples took place within the Unification Church and secured what he called “the internal foundation centering on our church” (Chambumo Gyeong (True Parents’ Scripture), a 1647 page record, in Father and Mother Moon’s own words, of their life course and the history of the activities they have initiated, published 2015, p. 336).

Old photo of Seoul Citizens’ Hall. Public domain image

Through the 124 couples, he said, “we were expanding to set a worldwide foundation” (Chambumo Gyeong, p. 335). Those couples represented the nations of the world.

Father Moon explained, “establishing the 124 Couples set the condition for God to be able to work in an unprecedented way on the world level. When the number of United Nations member nations topped 120, we entered the Last Days.” (Chambumo Gyeong, p. 336)

124 couples 1963
From the Marriage Blessing ceremony 24th July 1963. Photo: FFWPU

In more than one sense the 1963 ceremony represented something new. He pointed this out, “When I blessed the 124 Couples, I included four husbands who were ex-convicts. It was absolutely necessary for me to include such people in the group. The work of heaven is not the work of condemning people, but rather of saving everyone. God seeks to redeem all people, not only religious believers, but conscientious people who are non-believers as well as those who have sinned and those who are in prison.” (Chambumo Gyeong, p. 336)

At the same time, this was the last such event to include only Koreans. Five years later, at the next large Marriage Blessing ceremony, for 430 couples on 22nd February 1968, one Japanese couple – Osami Kuboki (1931-1998) and his wife Tetsuko took part. The year after, 43 couples from 10 nations were blessed during Father and Mother Moon’s second world tour, first 13 couples in Washington DC, USA on 28th February, then 8 couples in Essen, West-Germany on 28th March, and finally 22 couples in Tokyo, Japan on 1st May 1969.

Featured image above: From the motorcade of 150 taxis, lined up in front of Seoul Citizens’ Hall, before they started driving through the streets of Seoul 24th July 1963. Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han can be seen on the left. Photo: FFWPU

“60 Years since 124 Couples Blessing” – text: Knut Holdhus


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