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Jacques de Molay

De Molay, born between 1244-1249, was put to death in Paris by the King of France. He was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar although at the time he was simply indicated as the Master from Outremer. Molay entered the order in 1265, fought in Syria, and after 1291 was at Cyprus. During a meeting assembled on the island in the autumn of 1291, Molay spoke of reforming the Order and put himself forward as an alternative to the current grand master. Gaudin died around 1292 and, as there were no other serious contenders for the role at the time, Molay was soon elected. He was elected grand master of the Templars about 1298. He lead the Order from April 20, 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1307.

October 13, 1307 - and presumably on a Friday - that King Philip IV "The Fair" of France arrested all of the Templar Knights. King Philip, deeply in debt to the Templars, was in favor of merging the Orders under his own command, thereby making himself a War King but Molay, however, rejected the idea. Philip IV, who was intent on crushing the order and seizing its wealth. Philip wanted the Templars arrested and their possessions confiscated to incorporate their wealth into the Royal Treasury and to be free of the enormous debt he owed the Templar Order.

Even the Grand Master of the order, the famed Jacqes de Molay, was arrested in Paris, together with 60 of his knights. The religious Order had been the subject of rumors of blasphemy and irreligious practices, but these were false. A large number, including the Grand Master Jacques DeMolay and three other leading Masters, confessed and were burned alive. The leaders were tortured into confessing.

March 18 1314 Jacques de Molay was burnt at the stake by order of King Phillip lV near Ile de Cite in the middle of the Seine in Paris. Up to the moment of his untimely demise, he was the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious organization established during the Crusades. He was about 70 years of age at the time of his execution in 1314. According to Aubert de Vertot (1655-1735), following tradition which means more myths than facts, the last words of De Molay were as follows:

"It is only just, that on such a terrible day, and in the last moments of my life, I should discover all the iniquity of the lie, and make the truth triumph. I declare, therefore, in the face of heaven and earth, and I confess, though to my eternal shame, that I have committed the greatest of all crimes; but it was only by agreeing to those which are so blackly imputed to an order which the truth now obliges me to acknowledge as innocent. I only made the declaration required of me in order to suspend the excessive pain of torture and to bend those who made me suffer it. I know what torments were inflicted on all those who had the courage to revoke such a confession. But the dreadful spectacle presented to me is not capable of making me confirm a first lie by a second, on such an infamous condition: I willingly renounce life, which is already only too hateful to me. And what would be the use of prolonging sad days that I owe only to calumny?"

Plaque still present today, marking the place of Jacques de Molay's execution, on the cale de la Cité, in Paris. Translation: At this location, Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned on 18 March 1314)

Pont-neuf bridge.This photo shows the part of the island where the executions took place. The plaque, which is on one of the pillars of the bridge located by the stairs, behind the trees. THE CURSE OF MOLAY JACKQUES:

Legend has it that in his last words James de Molay cast a terrible curse upon his tormentors, "... calling Philip and Clement to meet him within a year and one day before God, to be judged for their crimes... "

Whether the legend is true or not, in the exact time lapse described by James de Molay both of the people responsible for the end of the Temples were dead. With the later fall and death of those who burned him at the stake, the most mistreated Master in History, but for me the most honorable, fulfilling his oath Grand Master and did not defend himself from being arrested.

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.

Chinon Parchment

In September 2001, a document known as the Chinon Parchment dated 17–20 August 1308 was discovered in the Vatican Secret Archives by Barbara Frale, apparently after having been filed in the wrong place in 1628. It is a record of the trial of the Templars and shows that Clement absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308 before formally disbanding the order in 1312, as did another Chinon Parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, also mentioning that all Templars that had confessed to heresy were "restored to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church". This other Chinon Parchment has been well known to historians, having been published by Étienne Baluze in 1693 and by Pierre Dupuy in 1751.

​The current position of the Roman Catholic Church is that the medieval persecution of the Knights Templar was unjust, that nothing was inherently wrong with the Order or its rule, and that Pope Clement was pressed into his actions by the magnitude of the public scandal and by the dominating influence of King Philip IV, who was Clement's relative.

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