March 18, 1314
Jacques de Molay
Burned at the Stake
On Friday October 13th, 1307 King Philip the Fair de Valois of France had 140 French Knights Templar and Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, arrested.
He likely did this because he owed them money and thought they had become too powerful. What followed was a classic case of power politics between the Catholic Church hierarchy in France, the Papacy itself, and the King.
They were tortured, and confessed to heresy, sodomy, cannibalism and other crimes. More than a hundred of them were then burned to death within a year of their arrest. 51 more were burned in 1311.
de Molay was not put to death until March 18, 1314, but recanted his confessions. The Papacy was complicit, having ordered the disbanding of the Knights Templar in 1308.
During forced interrogation by royal agents on October 24, Jacques confessed that the Templar initiation ritual included "denying Christ and trampling on the Cross". He was also forced to write a letter asking every Templar to admit to these acts. Under pressure from Philip IV, Pope Clement V ordered the arrest of all the Templars throughout Christendom.
The pope still wanted to hear Jacques de Molay's side of the story, and dispatched two cardinals to
Apparently the Pope “absolved” De Molay and other top Templars in 1308 according to“lost documents” found in the
Maybe they were "sodomites" or not, but the Knights Templar, and Jacques de Molay in particular, were certainly scapegoated by power plays between the Church and The State. Shades of modern times. Le plus ça change, etc.