The European Community of Historic Guilds is the federation of Historic Marksmen in Europe. It currently consists of about 2800 guilds, brotherhoods, societies and marksmen’s unions with a total membership of about 1 million marksmen. This society has members from several European countries including: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Greece, Spain, Czech Republic, Croatia and Poland.
The community of European historic guilds aims to build and maintain a united Christian Europe. The motto of EGS is “ PRO DEO, PRO EUROPAE CHRISTIANAE UNITATE, PRO VITA “ which means “for God, for united Christian Europe, for life”.
With a good understanding of the historical background of various participating marksmen, guilds and groups in Europe, the leaders of this federation selected a unifying goal:
To strengthen the existing bond between every European citizen through the understanding of each country’s diverse traditions and to respect the mutual differences between various cultures. Brotherhood creates a strong bond among European citizens and promotes peaceful coexistence on the continent.
Historical Background of the EGS
In 1955, representatives of the associations of guilds from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands formed a committee to create a union of Historic Marksmen. This association is what is now known as the European Community of Historic Marksmen’s Guilds
The first festival of European historic marksmen guilds was held in Aachen in 1975. Subsequently, more countries became members of the EGS.
After the initial marksmen guilds’ festival in 1975, other festivals were held in Nijmegen (Netherlands 1977), Peer (Belgium 1979), Koblenz (Germany 1981), Eindhoven (Netherlands 1982), Eupen (Belgium 1985), Lippstadt (Germany 1987), Valkenburg (Netherlands 1989), Genk (Belgium 1992), Medebach (Germany 1994), Haaksbergen (Netherland 1996), Krakow (Poland 1998), Garrel (Germany 2000), Vöcklabruck (Austria 2003), Bernheze (Netherlands 2006). The last festival of European marksmen was held in Kinrooi, Belgium in 2009.
Restructuring of EGS
The current administrative structure of the EGS was created in 1994. In the new leadership structure, the Presidium became the governing body. Representatives of five regions now form the governing body of the organization. The five regions include:
Region 1: The northern part of river Main in Germany
Region 2: The southern part of river Main in Germany together with Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
Region 3: Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
Region 4: Portugal, France, Belgium, Greece and Spain
Region 5: Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia and Eastern Europe
The regular addition of new unions to the community shows that the members of the marksmen’s guild are pursuing a worthy course in EGS.
The European Marksmen’s Guild’s Covenant and Commitment to the Church
The EGS is closely connected with an Order known as Knighthood of Holy Sebastian in Europe. This knighthood seeks to promote and strengthen ties between EGS and the Roman Catholic Church. This course is also expressed in the motto of the Knighthood which is the same as that of the EGS: For God – for United Christian Europe-for life. Members of the Knighthood demonstrate their commitment to this course by their exemplary behavior, personal commitment to the society and to the church. The regions that form the Presidium of the EGS also form that of the Order. Hence the Presidium leads both the EGS and the Knighthood.
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The EGS has a social network that supports social projects. During the European festival in year 2000, a children’s village of the Brother Albert Foundation in Poland was supported by providing funds to put up a new building.
In 2006, an institution for handicapped people received support while in 2009, the EGS provided support to furnish a dispensary in Conan Romania.