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The arena where the funeral service is being held seated only 14,000, and many visitors watched the ceremony from live broadcasts around the church campus here, which includes schools, a hospital and training center.

Thousands of mourners gathered outside the stadium to view the proceedings, including at least 5,000 who gathered on one deck of the stadium in front of a large video screen. Countless more lined the road leading up to the church’s holy estate and the mountainside site where Rev. Moon was laid to rest

Dozens of flags flanked the flower-decked altar topped by a large oil painting of Rev. Moon. Floral tributes from Korean and international dignitaries, including some from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, ringed the lower bowl of the stadium.

The ascension was also broadcast live to to hundreds of locations worldwide, church officials said.

The emotional centerpiece of the funeral came with the seonghwa address given by the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon. Hyung Jin Moon, Rev. Moon’s Harvard-educated seventh and youngest son, has been named international president of the Unification Church and his father’s designated spiritual successor.

Struggling at times to maintain his composure, the younger Mr. Moon, clad in a traditional white robe, discussed at length plans to carry on the work of his father’s last great project for a global “Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity,” with a “Foundation Day” for the new movement set for Jan. 13, 2013.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon “declared that Foundation Day will be a new day of eternal life, where a new heaven and new earth will be opened with God at the center, and where eternal liberation and complete freedom will be enjoyed,” the 33-year-old Hyung Jin Moon said, his voice cracking at times and his white-gloved hand rising occasionally to wipe his eye.

“The task that remains now on earth is ours to accomplish,” he said, as many in the audience sobbed quietly.

Hyung Jin Moon and Kook Jin Moon also took pride of place when their father’s casket was lowered into the burial vault later in the day. Many of the faithful remained in the stadium for hours after the funeral had ended, watching and praying along with those at the gravesite through a closed-circuit television feed.

LOOKING AHEAD

The younger Mr. Moon and Rev. Moon’s widow, who succeeds her husband as formal head of the church, are expected to address officials from the church’s ministries in some 194 countries on Monday about the Unification Church’s way forward with the death of its founder. There has been speculation in church circles that Mrs. Moon will announce a world tour in the vein of the many tours her husband made over the decades to promote his 58-year-old ministry.

One discordant note from the ceremony was the absence of Hyun Jin Preston Moon, Rev. Moon’s oldest surviving son, who has been involved in a protracted feud with other members of the family over control of the church and the disposition of its commercial assets.

In a statement released through his Global Peace Foundation this week, the 43-year-old Preston Moon laid the blame for divisions in the family over the future of the church on his brothers, announcing he would hold a separate memorial service for his father at a later date in the United States.

“I am now walking a separate path and have no part in any support ‘succession struggle’ within the Unification movement,” he added. “… I shall continue to use the resources available to me to further that work.”

A CHANCE TO CELEBRATE

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