The Brotherhoods dedicated to the olive tree are all in the service of this thousand-year-old tree: their first purpose is the defence of the olive tree and its products, the olive and the oil. The first brotherhood was created in 1964 in Nyons, since several were created in the different regions where olive tree is implemented.
A brotherhood, in a few words
As any non-profit organization, a Brotherhood has an annual general meeting which elects its board of directors. This board nominates different persons such as a president (Grand maître), two vice-presidents (Grand Chancelier), a master of cermemonies (Grand Chambellan), a secretary (Tabellion), a treasurer and three experimented tasters (Maître tastaires).
To become an Olive tree Knight, it is necessary to be presented by a sponsor. The proposal must be approved by the majority of the members of the “Great council” of the Brotherhood, nominated during the general meeting. The new Knights come to strengthen the ambassador’s network, each in the domain justifying to defend the olive tree, whatever the variety or the area of production. The traditional cloth is the velvet cape (generally green), the felt hat (also generally green), the medal with ribbon (green for Nyons, gold and red in Languedoc-Roussillon).
The enthronement, a friendly rite
The enthronement of the new Knight takes place during a Chapter hold during a public event: The applicant has to take the oath at first and make a commitment to defend the olive tree and all the material and spiritual values it represents. Guided by his sponsor, the applicant enjoys symbolically an olive or some olive oil. The Great master of the Brotherhood welcomes the applicant by a speech and congratulations, then he knights him with an olive branch. The sponsor gives to the new knight the medal, giving evidence of his enthronement. Over the years – if he is particularly deserving – the new Knight could become Majoral and take on the cape and the hat.
As an example, the oath of the Brotherhood of the Olive Tree Knights of Nyons : With enjoyment I agree to be part of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Olive tree. I promise by my words, my papers, my acts, to lead me in frank knight, to defend the olive tree and all the real wealth, material and spiritual which it brings us, to practise the virtues which it represents, to help in all the measure of my means in the maintenance and in the promotion of its culture; to work for the olive tree, food and light, for the olive tree, symbol of abundance, wisdom and peace, symbol of life.
The Brotherhood of the olive tree Knights in Nyons
Created in 1964
President – Grand Maître : Christian Bartheye
In 1963 was born the idea to create a Brotherhood with the aim of defending the olive tree, threatened after the disastrous frost in 1956. Since then, the Brotherhood of the Olive Tree Knights organized numerous “chapters” for the enthronement of new “knights” in the service of the olive tree and by sponsoring new brotherhoods, in France as abroad. Events were created specially to promote Nyons olive and olive oil: the Olivades (1964), Fête de l’Alicoque (celebration of the new olive oil). The Brotherhood takes part in the organization of different events such as Fête de l’Olive Piquée (Cured black olives) in December, celebration of the new oil in Buis les Baronnies…
The Brotherhood of the olive tree Knights in Languedoc-Roussillon
Created in 1992
President – Grand Maître : Michel Teissier
The Brotherhood is present in Aude, Gard, Hérault et Pyrénées-Orientales regions, where the olive tree is well implemented. Professions are largely present in this association: olive millers, olive confectioners, producers. In order to promote the olive tree, the Brotherhood organizes “Chapters” where new members are enthroned: in Nîmes and Pignan (September), Marguerittes (October), Corconne (December).
The Brotherhood of the Olive tree Knights in Aix region
Created in 1993
Its maxim : Ne extra oléa, ne nous éloignons pas de l’olivier (Do not go away from the olive tree).
The Brotherhood is part of the association “Les compagnons de l’olivier du Pays d’Aix”. Its main aim is to defend and promote the very traditional products that are olive and olive oil from this region, main place of cultivation of the varieties Aglandau and Salonenque, to support the development of the olive cultivation.
The “Commanderie du Rameau d’Argent”
President – Grand Maître : Bernard JACQUET
La Commanderie du Rameau d’Argent a une vocati
This association has a regional calling (Var, Alpes-Maritimes, a part of the Bouches du Rhône and Alpes de Haute-Provence). As for the other Brotherhoods, the « Commanderie » aims to defend the olive tree by taking part to the different events, to make aware of the olive tree protection, of the promotion of its products and its development. The “Commanderie” takes part to different events in Brignoles, Sanary sur Mer, Ollioules, Fayence.
The Brotherhood « Olivado de Provence »
Created in 1975
President – Grand Maitre : Gérard Pellegrini
This brotherhood has a precise aim: to see the reconstruction of nice olive orchards. As a concrete example, the association planted about 100 olives trees in Sainte Maxime. The Brotherhood works so that this mythical tree and all its richness are not abandoned. The association organises meetings, conferences, a contest of olive oil, cooking workshops, and takes part to the different olive events in its region.