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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 13:48 GMT
Zambian cleric returns home
Archbishop Milingo and his bride at the wedding in May 2001
Archbishop Milingo married a Moonie bride
The controversial African archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo, is ruling out meeting his Korean bride during his return visit to Zambia.

He made worldwide headlines last year after breaking priestly vows and marrying Maria Sung, a Korean doctor, in a mass wedding ceremony conducted by the Moonie religious sect.

But speaking to the BBC's Network Africa after arriving in Lusaka, he confirmed his relationship with Maria Sung was definitely over - and he would not see her again.

Maria Sung, who remains a prominent member of the Moonies, is believed to still be in Lusaka.

She arrived a few months ago and quickly dominated headlines there with her tears and pleas for her husband to take her back.

Funeral

While in Zambia, Archbishop Milingo is to travel to the eastern town of Chipata for the funeral of his sister, who died during the archbishop's just-ended year of spiritual retreat in Argentina.

Pope John Paul II
The Pope sent him on retreat to Argentina
He will also be returned to the Zambian fold in what should be a packed-out public mass in a church in the capital, Lusaka, on Sunday.

Two weeks ago he celebrated a public mass in Italy for the first time since the Pope pardoned him, following his repudiation of the marriage.

Archbishop Milingo said in Lusaka that he was happy to be able to assure Zambian followers of his good health and "bring great joy to the many people who arrived at the airport to welcome him".

Controversy

In 1983, he resigned as archbishop of Lusaka and moved to Rome after pressure from the Pope, who was unhappy with reports that the archbishop carried out spectacular and sometimes frenzied faith healings and exorcisms of evil spirits.

Mrs Milingo, nee Maria Sung
Mrs Milingo's every move has been reported

The reason why the Vatican has bent over backwards to accommodate this controversial prelate - to some Catholics a charismatic faith-healer and to others a potential witchdoctor - is that they feared he might set up a breakaway African Church with his former friends, the Moonies.

But in the interview, Archbishop Milingo denied holding the church to ransom.

"I have not been arrogant or obstructive towards the Catholic Church. I have never criticised the Church," he said.

The Moonies are a United States-based religious sect led by the Reverend Moon from Korea.

Archbishop Milingo has now broken off relations with the sect.

Maria Sung was chosen for him by the Reverend Moon.

See also:

24 Aug 01 | Europe
07 Aug 01 | Europe
16 Aug 01 | Africa
18 Aug 01 | Europe
24 Nov 00 | Europe
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