The founder of the controversial Unification Church is in a South
Korean hospital in critical condition due to complications from
pneumonia, his spokesman said on Thursday.
Sun Myung Moon, 92, was admitted to Seoul's St Mary's Hospital on
Tuesday and has been unconscious since then, Ahn Ho-Yeol told
AFP, describing his condition as very critical.
"He is on life support and cannot communicate... doctors say the
next three days will be the critical period," Ahn said. Close
family members, including Moon's son and successor as church
leader Hyung Jin Moon, were at his bedside.
The church's website posted a message urging the faithful to hold
special prayers from Thursday until September 24 for the recovery
of "the true father", including a three-day fast beginning
The Unification Church -- founded in Seoul in 1954 and officially
called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification --
is one of the world's most controversial religious organisations.
Its devotees are often dubbed "Moonies" after the founder and it
is widely known for conducting mass weddings among followers
involving thousands of couples.
It says it evangelises in some 200 countries and according to
another spokesman has some three million followers worldwide.
The church's vast business empire includes The Washington Times
newspaper and the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan.
Hyung Jin Moon, the youngest of Moon's seven sons, succeeded his
father as the church's most senior leader in 2008 at the age of
Sun Myung Moon, who was born in North Korea, visited the North in
1991 to meet its then-president Kim Il-Sung.