Jacques de Molay was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1312. Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is one of the best known Templars.
Jacques de Molay’s goal as Grand Master was to reform the Order, and adjust it to the situation in the Holy Land during the waning days of the Crusades. As European support for the Crusades had dwindled, other forces were at work which sought to disband the Order and claim the wealth of the Templars as their own. King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars, had Molay and many other French Templars arrested in 1307 and tortured into making false confessions. When Molay later retracted his confession, Philip had him burned upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in front of Notre-Dame de Paris in March, 1314. Both the sudden end of the centuries-old order of Templars and the dramatic execution of its last leader turned Molay into a legendary figure.
Via the official
Friday the 13th 2017
Today is Friday the 13th. Many people of the superstitious sort consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky. There are people who wear good luck charms all day and some who go so far as to refuse to leave home, lest something unlucky happen to them.
But many don’t know that one legend of the origin of Friday the 13th as unlucky comes from the persecution of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France, in league with Pope Clement V ordered all Templars to be rounded up and thrown in prison. The Knights were accused of numerous crimes including heresy and treason. For two hundred years the Knights Templar had been the most dominant force in Christendom, but after their defeat at the Siege of Acre and the loss of the Holy Land, their influence began to wane.
Yet they still held enormous power and great amounts of wealth. Pope Clement sought to merge the Knights Templar with the Knights Hospitaller another powerful order at the time. Neither group found such a merger ideal. And despite the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars were still a part of of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Their houses, churches and farms dotted the countryside throughout Europe. It provided employment for thousands of people. They started an international banking system that allowed nobles to deposit funds and valuables for safekeeping. And in what ultimately led to their downfall, they occasionally helped finance wars.
Philip IV borrowed enormous sums of money to finance a war with England. A poor king and an even worse military commander, Philip was easily defeated. He saw a way of both currying favor with the Pope and eliminating his huge debt. On that fateful day of Friday, October 13, 1307 he ordered all Templars arrested and their property seized. The Grandmaster of the order, Jacques DeMolay was thrown in prison along with several other high-ranking members of the order.
Their ‘trial’ was a farce. The Templars were charged with heresy, worshiping false idols and other crimes against the church. Many of them were tortured until they ‘confessed’ to their crimes. Refusing to capitulate, Jacques DeMolay would not confess and Philip ordered him burned at the stake. In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring the Templars innocent of their alleged crimes.
The Knights Templar, which had dominated medieval life for two centuries, was no more. Unfortunately for Philip, the Templars had learned of his planned treachery before hand. Many of them escaped and their vast stores of treasure were hidden from the King’s soldiers.
Another legend that has also persisted is that Jacques DeMolay, the last Grandmaster of the Order, cursed both Philip IV and Pope Clement V, as he died. Whether or not you believe in curses, both Philip and Clement died within months of DeMolay’s death.
Non Nobis Domine,
By Michael P. Spradlin
For more on the truth behind Friday the 13th continue to page 2 below.