Jacques de Molay

Jacques de Molay

Birth
Bourgogne, France
Death 18 Mar 1314 (aged 69–70)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Cremated, Other, Specifically: Burned at the stake on orders from King Philip IV of France.
Memorial ID 134852745 · View Source
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Grand Master of the Knights Templar. He served as the 23rd and final Grand Master of the Knights Templar, one of the most wealthy and powerful Christian military orders, from April 1292 until the organization was dissolved by papal decree in 1312. He was probably born in Molay, Haute-Saone, in the County of Burgundy of present-day France into a family of minor or middle mobility, sometime between 1240 and 1250. Little is known of his early life until 1265, when he was admitted into the Order of the Templars. Around 1270 he went to the Outremer, a general name given to the Crusader states established along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea after the First Crusade, though little is remembered of his activities for the next 20 years. In the autumn of 1291 he put himself forward as an alternative to the current Grand Master, Thibaud Gaudin. When Gaudin died around 1292 and no other serious contenders for the role of the Grand Master arose, he was soon elected. In the spring 1293 he began a tour of the West to try to muster more support for a reconquest of the Holy Land. Developing relationships with European leaders such as Pope Boniface VIII, Edward I of England, James I of Aragon and Charles II of Naples, his immediate goals were to strengthen the defense of Cyprus and rebuild the Templar forces. He was able to secure authorization from some monarchs for the export of supplies to Cyprus, the base of operations for any future military attempts by the Crusaders to regain the Holy Land, but could obtain no firm commitment for a new Crusade. There was talk of merging the Templars with one of the other military orders, the Knights Hospitaller and the Grand Masters of both orders opposed such a merger, but pressure increased from the Papacy. After holding two general meetings of his order in southern France, at Montpellier in 1293 and at Arles in 1296, where he tried to make reforms, he returned to Cyprus in the autumn of 1296 to defend his order against the interests of Henry II of Cyprus. From 1299 to 1303 he was engaged in planning and executing a new attack against the Egyptian Mamluks, who controlled the Holy land. The plan was to coordinate actions between the Christian military orders, the King of Cyprus, the aristocracy of Cyprus, the forces of Cilician Armenia, and a new potential ally, the Mongols of the Ilkhanate (Persia), to oppose the Mamluks and recapture the coastal city of Tartus in Syria. In 1305 the newly elected Pope Clement V asked the leaders of the military orders for their opinions concerning a new crusade and the merging of the orders. He was asked to write memoranda on each of the issues, which he did during the summer of 1306. He was opposed to the merger in favor of having separate military orders was a stronger position, as the missions of each order were somewhat different. He was also of the belief that if there were to be a new crusade, it needed to be a large one, as the smaller attempts were not effective. In June 1036 the leaders of both the Templars and the Hospitallers were officially asked to come to the Papal offices in Poitiers to discuss these matters He arrived in France in late 1306 or early 1307 but the meeting was delayed until late May due to the Pope's illness. King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars, favored merging the military orders under his own command, thereby making himself Rex Bellator, or War King, an idea rejected by de Molay. In September 1307 Philip took advantages of unfounded rumors and accusations against the Templars and sent out a secret order to his agents in all parts of France to implement a mass arrest of all Templars on October 13th. Philip wanted to confiscate the Templars possessions confiscated to incorporate their wealth into the Royal Treasury and to be free of the enormous debt he owed them. De Molay and sixty of his Templar brothers were arrested, charged with heresy, blasphemy, immorality, obscenity, and many other trumped-up charges. Under forced interrogation, he 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 and under pressure from Philip, Pope Clement ordered the arrest of all the Templars throughout Christendom. In December 1307 Clement sent two cardinals to Paris to hear de Molay's side of the story and he retracted his earlier confessions. In the royal palace at Chinon, de Molay was again questioned by the cardinals, but this time with royal agents present, and he returned to his forced admissions made in 1307. In November 1309, the Papal Commission for the Kingdom of France began its own hearings, during which he again recanted, stating that he did not acknowledge the accusations brought against his order. Pope Clement then called for an ecumenical council to meet at Vienne, France in 1311 to decide the future of the Templars. The council was delayed due to the length of the trials, but finally was convened in 1312 and on March 22, 1312 the Order of the Knights Templar was abolished by papal decree. On March 18, 1314 he was transported to Paris and on a rostrum erected on the parvis before the great cathedral of Notre-Dame and was publicly condemned to perpetual imprisonment. After loudly professing his innocence and that of the Templars, Philip ordered him to be executed by burning at the stake on an island in the River Seine in Paris.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 25 Aug 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 134852745
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jacques de Molay (1244–18 Mar 1314), Find A Grave Memorial no. 134852745, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Other, who reports a Burned at the stake on orders from King Philip IV of France..