This Week in History February 21 to 27

430-couples-blessing Feb-22-1968
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  • Top image: 430 Couples Blessing Wedding 22 February, 1968.
  • 74 couples participate in the Marriage Blessing Ceremony (February 21, 1977)
  • True Father celebrates his 60th birthday (February 21, 1980)
  • The Cheon Bok Gung opens (February 21, 2010)
  • 70,000 in Nepal participate in International Peace Blessing (February 21, 2015)
  • True Father is arrested for a second time in Korea (February 22, 1948)
  • The Holy Marriage Blessing for 430 couples is held (February 22, 1968)
  • Unification News begins publication (February 22, 1982)
  • The Cross-Cultural Marriage Blessing Ceremony takes place (February 22, 2007)
  • Foundation Day (February 22, 2013)
  • Year One of the Kingdom of God begins (February 23, 1977)
  • International Association of Youth and Students for Peace established (February 23, 2017)
  • Ilhwa Ginseng products receive kosher certification (February 24, 2014)

FEBRUARY 21, 1977

74 Couples Holy Blessing

On February 21, 1977, True Parents officiated at the largest Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony yet held outside Korea. Seventy-four couples from eleven nations took part in the ceremony, which was conducted in the Terrace Room of the World Mission Center (New Yorker Hotel) in New York. True Parents previously had conducted a Blessing for 43 couples (13 couples in the United States, 8 couples in Germany and 22 couples in Japan) during their Second World Tour in 1969. True Father explained that the Holy Blessing of 74 Couples was made possible on the foundation of the victory of 1976 in America, notably the Washington Monument Rally. He said that he especially wished to give the Blessing to “sorrowfully separated couples from the 777 and 1,800 families” and those who had not been able to participate in the 1975 Blessing due to mission responsibilities.

For the first time since the Holy Blessing of 36 Couples, True Parents posed for photos with each couple individually. They also held a banquet for participants after the ceremony which included a number of “games” such as couples competing to stare into one another’s eyes the longest without blinking or trying to make one another laugh, then trying to make True Father laugh, unsuccessfully. Even though True Mother and the children joined in, True Father “refused to budge” until “there was a glimmer and he broke his seriousness to please us all.” It was reported, “The room filled with joy.” Col. Bo Hi Pak announced that such a banquet had not happened before.

FEBRUARY 21, 1980

True Father’s 60th Birthday

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Father fishing on the Hudson River near the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) circa February, 1980.

In early 1980, elders of the Unification Church were eagerly preparing to celebrate True Father’s 60th birthday. This was because in East Asia, the 60th birthday has special significance, meaning that a person has completed five 12-year cycles of the Oriental zodiac. It signifies accomplishing one big cycle in one’s life and starting another and is considered the most significant birthday in an individual’s lifetime. Therefore, church leaders were immersed in a multitude of detailed preparations for that celebration. However, unexpectedly True Father summoned Col. Bo Hi Pak and asked him to abandon all plans for a celebration and immediately go to Latin America. He had intuited the need for a new initiative to support Latin American governments, which were increasingly under pressure because of the communist takeover of Nicaragua in 1979 and the growth of communist insurrection in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. He gave Col. Pak instructions to establish contacts and offer resources in educating young people, the military, and civic leaders so as to avoid a fate similar to Nicaragua’s. This led to the founding of CAUSA International and a new chapter in Unificationists’ “victory over communism” activities.

FEBRUARY 21, 2010

Opening of the Cheon Bok Gung

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Father speaks at the opening of the Cheon Bok Gung.

True Parents dedicated the Cheon Bok Gung, or “Unification Peace Temple,” on February 21, 2010. In 2008, True Father had called for the establishment of a 20,000-member church in Seoul that would serve as a platform to influence the nation. He later increased the goal to a 210,000-person congregation that would influence Korea and eventually the world, not just socially and culturally but also spiritually. Efforts to construct a “growth-stage” Cheon Bok Gung began in earnest with the acquisition of a large public building in Seoul’s Yongsan district. The church’s worldwide membership, led by Japan and Korea, donated nearly $100 million for the purchase and subsequent renovation costs. This was completed in early 2010, and Unificationists undertook an hour-long march from the previous church headquarters to the new sanctuary, which also would serve as International and Korean church headquarters. In his dedication prayer, True Father prayed that the Cheon Bok Gung “become the candlelight in a garden around which all people who resemble heaven in heart can assemble. … Let it serve as an ecumenical foundation and become the temple embodying the original essence of Your exemplary love as it governs beyond all people and the universe.”

FEBRUARY 21, 2015

70,000 in Nepal Attend International Peace Blessing


Photo credit FFWPU-USA

Approximately 70,000 citizens of Nepal gathered to affirm marriage and family on February 21, 2015, as they filled the National Stadium in the capital, Kathmandu, to pledge to uphold premarital purity and marital fidelity. As many as 15,000 people were turned away. At the Multicultural Family Educational Peace Festival, which was organized by the Nepalese chapter of Universal Peace Federation (UPF), unmarried teenagers and young adults took a Pure Love Pledge in front of their peers and parents, promising to remain pure. Married couples reaffirmed their marriage vows of love and fidelity in front of their children, friends and neighbors, and the nation. Religious leaders from six faiths offered their prayers and blessings. Nepal Parliament Member and Family Party President Ek Nath Dhakal, who promoted the festival, stated, “This is the 18th time that the festival has been held in Nepal.” The two-hour program was broadcast live on 10 television stations in Nepal and internationally via satellite. Nepal’s Vice President Parmanand Jha told his compatriots, “Without first creating true love and peace at home, we cannot dream of building a peaceful and loving nation.” Concluding his remarks, he added, “This is the way to build a nation of peace.” Dr. Sun Jin Moon, international chair of UPF, spoke about the universal nature of the Interfaith Peace Blessing, saying, “Our hope is that, beginning with this Blessing, each couple and family will cultivate a higher awareness of our Creator’s deepest heart and purpose.”

FEBRUARY 22, 1948

True Father Arrested a Second Time in North Korea

True Father received a revelation in 1946 which said, “Go across the 38th Parallel! Find the people of God who are in the North.” He immediately responded and arrived in Pyongyang on June 6. He began evangelical work but was arrested by communist police on August 11 and accused of being a spy from the South. He was brutally tortured and finally released on November 21. After recovering, he resumed evangelical work, and within a year his congregation had become quite large. Some 80 ministers of established churches whose members had begun attending the new congregation’s services wrote letters of complaint, and True Father was arrested a second time by communist authorities on February 22, 1948. This time, in addition to accusations of espionage, he was charged with “disturbing public order.” True Father again was severely tortured, tried on April 7, convicted, sentenced to 5 years’ labor, and transported to Heungnam Prison on May 20, 1948.

FEBRUARY 22, 1968

Holy Blessing of 430 Couples

430 Couples Blessing Wedding 22 February, 1968.

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Parents gave the Holy Marriage Blessing to 430 couples (436, technically) on February 22, 1968. True Father noted that 1967 marked 4,300 years of Korean history (the Dangun era). He stated that the 430 Couples corresponded to the 4,300 years of Korean history and that the Holy Marriage Blessing connected Korea to the Unification Church. True Father also noted that it took the Israelites 430 years to return to Canaan from Egypt and that “we too have set out to restore the world, which is our Canaan.” The following year, True Parents conducted their second world tour and blessed 43 couples worldwide, which connected to the 430 Couple Holy Blessing internationally. The 430 Couple Holy Blessing included the first non-Korean couple, Osami and Tetsuko Kuboki from Japan. Their Blessing connected Korea and Japan. True Father later stated, “The Blessing … is not just for Koreans. The fact that I connected the 430 Couples to the 43 Couples on the foundation of the family on the world level signifies the birth of a new race transcending ethnicity and nationality. That is how I see it.”

Excerpts from the Cheon Seong Gyeong 2014: The Holy Scripture of Cheon Il Guk about ‎the 430 couples blessing (download pdf or read online here):‎
Book 5 True Family
CHAPTER 2 Blessed Marriage and Original Love between Man and Woman
Section 4. The Significance of the Blessing Groups p. 515

The 430 couples represent the Korean people

‎13. After selecting holy grounds throughout the world, I gave the Blessing to 430 ‎couples. These couples correspond to the 430 years during which the Jews were in Egypt and to ‎the 4,300 years of Korean history. They signified the beginning of a new history. Moreover, the ‎‎430 couples represent all the families of the world. Afterward, while I was carrying out my ‎second world tour, I blessed a total of forty-three couples in the United States, Europe and ‎Japan. I could then connect those 43 couples to the 430 couples on the world level. In so doing, I ‎was able to connect the victorious foundation established in Korea to the world, including the ‎West. All the world’s families, not just the members of the Unification Church, could right then ‎and there receive heavenly fortune. (52-131, 1971.12.26)‎

‎14. The 430 couples correspond to the 4,300 years of Korean history. After 430 years, the ‎Israelites were able to escape from Egypt. The 430 couples, representing 4,300 years, must forge ‎a new beginning as the Israelites did, based on the earthly foundation of the number forty-three. ‎They must expand the territory in which the nation and people can be established according to ‎God’s Will. If we consider the number 43, adding 4 and 3 makes 7, and when you multiply these ‎two numbers you arrive at 12. The 430 couples were blessed in Korea according to this principle. ‎Just as the Israelites were liberated after 430 years and began their exodus, migrations occurred ‎within the Unification Church. Thus people from Jeolla Province moved to Gangwon Province, ‎and people from Gangwon moved to Jeolla. A great mobilization was thus begun through which ‎people from different provinces intermingled. (58-061, 1972.06.06)‎

‎15. The fact that I blessed the 430 couples signifies that the gate through which we can ‎carry out the mission on the world level has been opened. After you attain that goal on the world ‎level, you can then be in the position to become messiahs on the tribal level. As blessed families, ‎you are not in the same position as the crucified Jesus. That is because you have received the ‎Blessing. For the sake of restoring your tribe, you are in the position of the returned Jesus. (52-‎‎194, 1971.12.28)‎

Note about references. Each reference indicates the volume and page number where the ‎‎passage appears in the series The Sermons of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (published in the ‎‎original Korean), plus the date the words were spoken (year, month, day). For example, “52-194, ‎‎1971.12.28” indicates that the content from that extract came from Volume 52, page 194, ‎and ‎that the speech was given on December 28, 1971. ‎

FEBRUARY 22, 1982

Unification News Begins Publication

Volume 1, Number 1 of Unification News was published on February 22, 1982. The lead story was “New Day for Civil Rights,” which covered True Father’s support for the Minority Alliance International (MAI) and its first awards banquet. For nearly 30 years, until December 2011, Unification News was the monthly voice of American Unificationism. For most of that time, “The Newspaper of the Unification Community” was edited by Richard Lewis. In a 2010 interview, he noted that it was established at the same time as The Washington Times. He recalled that True Father spent two hours on a cold Sunday morning at Belvedere in February talking “about the fall of communism and how important The Washington Times was going to be.” Then, right at the end, almost as an afterthought, he said, “Oh, Dr. Pak. I want you to create a second newspaper at the same time so that we’re never tempted to use The Washington Times as our church newspaper.” He then “held up two dummies, one of the Unification News and one of The Washington Times.” As the newspaper of record for the American Unification community, it covered True Parents’ momentous work over the course of three decades, regional and local Unification news, and commentary. Its mission is now carried on by the Family Federation for World Peace through its online website and newsletter.

FEBRUARY 22, 2007

Cross-Cultural Marriage Blessing Ceremony


Photo credit FFWPU-USA

On February 22, 2007, the “Cross-Cultural Marriage Blessing Ceremony in the Sacred Reign of Peace for the Realization of a Peaceful World” took place at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center in Gapyeong, Korea, with True Parents as the officiators. Many children of UPF Ambassadors for Peace received the Blessing on this day, with 521 new couples formed in the midst of much love and blessings. The brides and grooms also participated in the “True Parents’ Birthday and Commemorative Celebration for True Father’s 88th Birthday,” held the next day.

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Foundation Day

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Father proclaimed Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Guk (“the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity”), abbreviated as Cheon Il Guk (CIG), on November 15, 2001. It is the Unification equivalent to the Kingdom of Heaven and represents an extension in the order of salvation from the individual and family to the creation of a heavenly nation. The Cheon Il Guk era refers to the time period during which the foundation of Cheon Il Guk was to be established. According to True Father, the movement was on a “tight schedule” of twelve years, extending until Foundation Day (the thirteenth day of the first month by the Heavenly Calendar), when the necessary conditions for the start of Cheon Il Guk would be fulfilled. The most important of these was the “marriage” of the “God of Night” (the eternal Godhead, transcendent of time and space, the creator God) and the “God of Day” (perfected Adam and Eve, the “Parents of Heaven Earth and Humankind”). “God’s Holy Wedding” was consummated on Foundation Day, and on that basis Unificationists worldwide renewed their Marriage Blessings. The Cheon Il Guk Coronation Ceremony of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind, also conducted on Foundation Day, marked the first year of Cheon Il Guk and expressed the church’s commitment to “peace and harmony for humanity.”

FEBRUARY 23, 1977

Year One of the Kingdom of God

The year 1976 was decisive in True Parents’ global ministry. It was a year of extremes. On the one hand, it was remembered as the year in which opposition to the movement reached its peak. The kidnapping and deprogramming of members continued, negative parent groups in the U.S. coalesced and were able to gain a public hearing before a powerful senator and numerous federal officials, and by the end of the year mainstream Jewish, Protestant and Catholic institutions turned on the Unification movement. On the other hand, in spite of these obstacles, the movement carried out rallies on a huge scale at Yankee Stadium and the Washington Monument. On January 1, 1977, True Father stated that the church had laid an “invincible foundation” for “horizontal expansion throughout the world.” At True Parents’ Birthday, celebrated in the New Yorker hotel in New York City on February 23, 1977, True Father pointed out that according to the lunar calendar, 1976 ended on February 20. As he put it, “The year of victory is gone, now the year of joy has started.” He concluded his talk, “Today in the Light of Dispensational History,” by saying, “This is the new beginning of the history of God. Therefore, this is the original first year of the Kingdom of God. This is the Year One.”

February 23, 2017

International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) established

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Mother established the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) on February 23, 2017 before an audience of 1800 students and VIPs from various FFWPU organizations at Cheong-Ah gymnasium in Songsan-ri, Gapyeong, Korea. True Mother’s vision was that the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) and the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) work closely together in providential roles.

In her “Call to Action,” True Mother referred to IAYSP as the Cheon Il Guk “Special Forces” who will create the environment to expand Cheon Il Guk throughout the world. She referred to those present as “Brave warriors” who will respond to an order with “absolute obedience.” She declared, “Just as in olden times, during the Korean Shilla kingdom, when to revive and protect the nation the Hwarang [a group of elite youth] was established, only through the revitalization of the university movement and the CARP movement is national restoration possible.”

True Mother appointed Dr. Robert Kittel IAYSP president. After distributing the Pure Love Pledge card to those in attendance, Dr. Kittel asked, “What are you the leaders of?” As everyone answered loudly, “THE FUTURE!” Dr. Kittel surprised everyone by replying, “Sorry, but NO! You are the leaders of the PRESENT!” Dr. Kittel said UPF, representing the Father, will work with lawmakers and governments to institutionalize laws and advocate government policies that protect the family. WFWP, representing the mother, will nurture a motherly heart that teaches and shares the logic of love in our homes, societies, nations and world. Finally the IAYSP representing children and lineage will inculcate the values of living for the sake of others and pure love in the hearts and minds of our youth. He defined IAYSP as “an umbrella association bringing together all the youth-based organizations of our global family.”

FEBRUARY 24, 2014

Ilhwa Ginseng Products Receive Kosher Certification


Photo credit FFWPU-USA

On February 24, 2014, Tongil Group’s subsidiary company Ilhwa received the kosher certification. The two products that received this certification were the hydrolysis concentrate and the ginseng concentrate. Kosher certification is the legal certification of foods that conform to Jewish law. Whether a food product is kosher or not depends mainly on its raw ingredients and the production process. If a product’s raw ingredients and production process coincide with kosher laws, then that product is eligible to receive kosher certification. The passion and dedication of Ilhwa are demonstrated through the company’s efforts to protect the health of customers around the world by creating reliable products that accommodate various religions and cultures.

Adapted from here and here, accessed 16/2/2021

This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This instalment covers the week of February 21–27.

Read more This Day in History at Sunhak History Institute.