March 18, 1314
Jacques de Molay (c.1244- March 18, 1314)-
The 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake on an island in the River Seine in Paris.
Molay entered the order in 1265, fought in Syria, and after 1291 was at Cyprus. He was elected Grand Master of the Templars in 1292.
In 1307, Jacques de Molay was summoned in france by Pope Clement V and King Philip IV to discuss new crusades and a possible union between the rival Templars and Hospitallers. At this time de Molay asked that the pope look into certain accusations of blasphemy and sodomy that had recently been raised against his Order.
On October 13, 1307, King Philip IV conspired against de Molay, and deeply in debt to the Order, he had every Knight Templar in France arrested and interrogated.
After much horrible torture, de Molay confessed that some of the charges brought against the Order were true, denying Christ and spitting on the cross, but de Molay rejected a charge of sodomy.
In 1309 and 1310, de Molay appealed for a personal judgement by the pope himself, but Clement decided against it.
On March 18, 1314, de Molay and other Knights were led out before the people to publicly confess his and the Order’s sins. Upon hearing the sentence of the cardinal judges, which were imprisonment for life, he recanted his earlier confessions and said that the only crime he was guilty of was lying about his Brothers in order to relieve his own tortures. As final punishment he was burned as a “heretic”.
His last words were said to have been:
“Pope Clement! King Philip! Within one year I summon you to a tribunal before the Judgement seat of God, where you will get the Retribution you deserve! Damned! Damned! All damned until the thirteenth generation of your races!”
Clement V died on April 20, 1314 from suffocation and Philip IV died on November 27, 1314, and his three sons died within 12 years, without leaving any male descendant, and so ending the Capetian dynasty.