Dear members of CILANE
It’s a great pleasure for me to deliver some opening words for the forthcoming Congress in October.
CILANE Congresses are arranged triennially by one of our member organisation. This year we are thankful that the responsibility is carried by the Réunion de la Noblesse Pontificale (RNP) and arranged in the ancient town of Avignon. The town has an intriguing and illustrious history, which makes it particularly well suited as a meeting place for our members.
We will enjoy some interesting lectures; one where we learn about the Papal Nobility and another about the influence the Popes of Avignon had on European society and history. And as always, a prime objective for the Congress, is the opportunity we’re given to exchange and share thoughts among the participants.
Between the Congresses the delegates of the member countries meet twice a year in a Meeting of the Delegates, where a broad range of matters are processed and planning of coming activities takes place. During the last three years many of our delegates have been engaged in making an outline for a future strategy for CILANE, and our youth group has been enthusiastically engaged in organizing many activities.
The issue of future strategies I see as a major task for the coming years. We have collected statistical figures from our member countries for a statistic over the European Nobility. This gives us for the first time an estimate for how the Nobility is built up and how many we are. A list of literature concerning European Noble Families has been put together and a note made on Orders of Chivalry and Military-Religious Orders. I am grateful for all the arduous work our members have done to compile all this information, which will be published on our website later on.
In round figures there are about half a million individuals that can be counted as the Nobility in Europe. This forms a historic group of individuals often related with each other, one way or another, often crossing national boundaries. This network, today as well as before, when transnational liaisons were of importance, and today with the unrest we experience, one can foresee possible tasks for the nobility in the future. The heritage that CILANE represents and Noblesse oblige continues to have its obligations.
CILANE as the co-ordinating and liaison body comprising of sixteen independent national associations of nobility will have a challenge to develop its activities to handle upcoming demands. Even if our aims are primarily cultural, a number of member associations also have charitable activities. In particular CILANE seeks to maintain an understanding of the identity of the nobility based on historical and legal accuracy, while promoting the maintenance of traditional noble values as a dynamic resource for our times.
Today we live with transnational mobility, where borders in Europe aren´t marked with walls and we have free movement. Traditions and networking, as in old times, among nobility in Europe can be revitalised by CILANE.
The upcoming Congress in Avignon will be a significant part in this revitalisation and even implementing a new tag line, a catchphrase or slogan for CILANE which could be “Connecting Nobility”. It can be a mission statement to be used with all modern communication facilities.
I wish all participants a rewarding and noble conductivity and the Congress in Avignon great success!
Johan Grotenfelt, Chancellor of the Finnish House of Nobility
Le Coordonnateur, CILANE