History of the SOPP
The Symphony of Peace Prayers began as the vision of internationally renowned peace advocate and spiritual leader Mrs. Masami Saionji. As chairperson of the Japanese peace organization Byakko Shinko Kai, Mrs. Saionji planned the first SOPP ceremony to be held at Fuji Sanctuary, the organization’s headquarters, in May 2005.
In 2007, the third annual SOPP became connected with a global event called Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day (also known as World Shift Day). The convergence of these two events brought together over one million people around the world who offered prayers and wishes for peace on the same day.
Dr. Ervin Laszlo, founder of the Club of Budapest, in cooperation with consciousness researcher Dr. Roger Nelson, led a scientific study that aimed to monitor the effects of the prayers and thoughts sent out by one million people around the world. 70 groups and organizations participated in the study. According to Dr. Nelson, the results were “surprisingly strong.” Dr. Laszlo reported: “The lived experience, as well as the objective results of the meditations/prayers…give us warrant to affirm an often suspected but seldom rigorously demonstrated fact: human consciousness has a real effect on people and the world.” Click the link below to read Dr. Laszlo’s full article.
Also in 2007, Fuji Sanctuary hosted a Round Table Discussion with a group of 28 spiritual leaders, scientists, and peace workers from 13 different countries. Joined by Mrs. Saionji, they set out to examine, from a variety of perspectives, the power of prayer in awakening and transforming humanity’s consciousness. At the same time, an international group of youth leaders gathered at the sanctuary to explore their views on prayer and its potential to awaken the younger generation to an awareness of the oneness of all humanity.
In 2008, SOPP ceremonies were held outside Japan for the first time, adhering to the same core principles and elements of the ceremony while incorporating their own unique interpretations and activities. From 2009 onward, the SOPP has truly been a global event, with local SOPP ceremonies and related prayer gatherings taking place in over 50 countries annually. Each year, thousands more peace-minded people become part of the growing SOPP network. Fuji Sanctuary continues to be the home of this worldwide interfaith movement for peace and harmony.
2012-2013: SOPP Forum & Gift Symposium
The 2012 and 2013 SOPP events included a post-ceremony discussion, where prayer leaders and guests had the opportunity to talk with each other in depth and share their experiences and ideas with regard to creating peace in the world and the potential significance of the Symphony of Peace Prayers.
At the same time, an international and diverse group of youth leaders was invited to Japan to take part in the SOPP events, and also to present their own experiences and ideas at a symposium in Tokyo entitled ‘Gift.’
2015: Inauguration of the Fuji Declaration
Thousands of participants joined in celebrating the inauguration of the Fuji Declaration, an international charter that seeks to awaken the sacred consciousness, or divine spark, in all humanity in order to spur a transformation in our civilization and create a more peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous way of life on planet Earth.
2016: Soul of WoMen Campaign introduced
The theme of the SOPP was further shaped by the Fuji Declaration’s Soul of WoMen Global Campaign. The campaign calls on women and men in communities around the world to activate the ‘divine feminine’ for a more balanced society that embraces all of humanity as one, so that we can fully ignite the divine spark within all of us.
2020-2022: Virtual SOPP
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SOPP became an online event, broadcast live from Fuji Sanctuary over the Internet, with prayer leaders and other guests contributing their messages on video. Friends of the SOPP around the world tuned in to the live broadcast to join in prayers for peace.