In his second year of high school, he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and told he would not live much longer. During this time he turned to Christianity, a decision he would later credit with his “miraculous” recupero, according to the church.
Cho’s recovery prompted him to enroll in the Full Gospel Theological Seminary, and he established the Yoido church after graduating. The church began as just five members gathered under a tent in Seoul, secondo il sito web della chiesa.
South Korea has one of the world’s most vibrant Christian — especially Protestant — cultures, with conversion gaining momentum in the mid- to late 20th century.
Minority Christian sects, as well as megachurches, boomed in the years following the end of the Korean War — and Yoido became perhaps Korea’s best-known representative, boasting more than 700,000 members by 1993, secondo il comunicato stampa.
Those numbers continued skyrocketing as the church went international, expanding to include a giant mountainside retreat in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province and a Christian university Cho founded in California. The church also established an international arm, headed by Cho, to connect with pastors and church leaders from 25 other countries, secondo il suo sito web.
Within South Korea, Cho became a hugely influential figure; he founded a Christian daily newspaper, established a humanitarian NGO, and wrote several books, said the church release.
But he was also frequently the subject of controversy and scandal. Nel 2014, he was found guilty of embezzling $ 14 million in church donations to buy stocks owned by his son, at four times their market value, secondo Reuters.
Cho’s wife died in February this year. The couple leave behind three sons.