David Cho Yong-gi, founder of Yoido megachurch, dies at 85 in South Korea

Cho had been hospitalized since a collapse in June 2020, and died in Seoul after struggling a mind hemorrhage. He was 85.

Cho based the Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958, which grew to be among the many world’s largest church buildings with greater than 480,000 attendees per week, based on Management Community, a global group of church leaders.

Yoido has greater than 500 church areas throughout South Korea, and has despatched 1000’s of missionaries to completely different international locations over time, based on the church’s information launch. Cho himself has participated in non secular rallies and actions in 71 international locations, mentioned the discharge.

Born in 1936, Cho lived by the Korean Struggle, throughout which he served as an interpreter between his college principal and the US army commander, the church mentioned in its launch.

In his second yr of highschool, he was recognized with pulmonary tuberculosis and informed he wouldn’t stay for much longer. Throughout this time he turned to Christianity, a call he would later credit score together with his “miraculous” restoration, based on the church.

Cho’s restoration prompted him to enroll within the Full Gospel Theological Seminary, and he established the Yoido church after graduating. The church started as simply 5 members gathered beneath a tent in Seoul, based on the church’s web site.

Christians attend an Easter service with social distancing at the Yoido Full Gospel Church on April 4 in Seoul, South Korea.

South Korea has one of many world’s most vibrant Christian — particularly Protestant — cultures, with conversion gaining momentum within the mid- to late twentieth century.

Minority Christian sects, in addition to megachurches, boomed within the years following the tip of the Korean Struggle — and Yoido turned maybe Korea’s best-known consultant, boasting greater than 700,000 members by 1993, based on the information launch.

These numbers continued skyrocketing because the church went worldwide, increasing to incorporate an enormous mountainside retreat in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province and a Christian college Cho based in California. The church additionally established a global arm, headed by Cho, to attach with pastors and church leaders from 25 different international locations, based on its web site.

Inside South Korea, Cho turned a vastly influential determine; he based a Christian every day newspaper, established a humanitarian NGO, and wrote a number of books, mentioned the church launch.

However he was additionally often the topic of controversy and scandal. In 2014, he was discovered responsible of embezzling $14 million in church donations to purchase shares owned by his son, at 4 instances their market worth, based on Reuters.

Cho’s spouse died in February this yr. The couple go away behind three sons.

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