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Founder of South Korean megachurch, David Yonggi Cho, dies at 85

by Donna Birrell
david_yonggi_cho Instagram - Banner image
Instagram/David Yonggi Cho

The founder of one of the world’s largest churches, David Yonggi Cho, has died at the age of 85. He had been treated for cerebral hemorrhage since July 2020.

Yoido Full Gospel Church, which is a Pentecostal Christian church, had its headquarters in Seoul in South Korea and at one point its network had 800,000 members, making it the largest congregation in the world.

Rev Yonggi Cho retired from leading the church – which is affiliated with Assemblies of God - in 2008. He became Pastor Emeritus and following his death the church paid tribute to him in a statement to the Associated Press:

“He conveyed the gospel of hope to the Korean people who fell into despair after the Korean War. He was instrumental in growing the Korean church, particularly developing Yoido Full Gospel Church as the world’s largest church.”

Rev Yonggi Cho founded Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958 and it still has around 480,000 members, with 400 pastors and evangelists in South Korea and 500 missionaries abroad. 

Despite receiving a suspended sentence in 2014 for reportedly embezzling millions from the church, Rev Yonggi Cho remained an influential figure.

 His funeral will be held at the church on Saturday, the Korean Herald reported.

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