South Korean pastor David Yonggi Cho founder of world's largest megachurch has died

David Yonggi Cho, the founder of the Yoido Full Gospel megachurch in South Korea, died Tuesday morning at the age of 85.

Pastor Yonggi Cho died in a Seoul hospital on Tuesday morning where he had been hospitalized due to a brain hemorrhage since July 2020. This was reported by the Yoido Full Gospel Church, of which he was the founder and pastor emeritus, in a press release partly taken up by the The Washington Post et CBN News.

"He transmitted the gospel of hope to the Korean people who fell into despair after the Korean War", the statement read, which also recalls that the pastor "played a decisive role in the growth of the country. 'Korean church, in particular the development of Yoido Full Gospel Church as the world's largest church.'

David Yonggi Cho was born in 1936 into a Buddhist family, he met the Lord at the age of 17. Then suffering from tuberculosis, the medical profession had told him that he was going to die of this disease from which he was finally cured. A "miraculous" cure that the pastor attributed to God according to CBN News.

Investing in full-time ministry, he graduated from Full Gospel Bible College in 1958. At the same time, he founded a church in Seoul with five worshipers, while the country was still facing the consequences of the Korean War. which ended in 1953. Under his leadership, the church experienced significant growth, becoming a symbol of the rapid expansion of Christianity in what was then a country deeply influenced by Confucianism.

The church he founded is one of the largest mega-churches in the world and today has over 750 members. The pastor then planted more than 000 churches in his country and sent thousands of missionaries to all corners of the world.

Considered one of the most influential Christian leaders in the country, David Yonggi Cho has written several books, founded a Christian newspaper and created a humanitarian organization.

Le February 20 2014, he was sentenced to three years in prison, five years probation and a fine of 5 billion won, or almost 4 million euros, for breach of trust and corruption. Following this affair, he spoke in front of his church. Comments reported by the Christian Journal :

“Thanks to this suffering I learned the duty. A person should not own anything (…). Health, status, fame, power, money… all of these matters are outside the body and unworthy of prosecution. "

His wife also died in February this year, leaving behind their three sons and a grieving community.

Upon the announcement of his death, tributes multiplied on social networks to honor his memory and his ministry.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image Credit: Keitma /

Article originally published in September 2021.

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