the Order also became very wealthy and popular throughout Europe.
1298, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar,
a position of power and prestige. As Grand Master however, Jacques
DeMolay was also in a difficult position. The Crusades were not
achieving their goals. The non-Christian Saracens defeated the Crusaders
in battle and captured many vital cities and posts. The Knights
Templar and the Hospitalers (another Order of Knights) were the
only groups remaining to confront the Saracens.
Knights Templar decided to reorganize and regain their strength.
They traveled to the island of Cyprus, waiting for the general public
to rise up in support of another Crusade.
of public support, however, the Knights attracted the attention
of powerful lords, who were interested in obtaining their wealth
and power. In 1305, Philip the Fair, King of France, set about to
obtain control of the Knights Templars. They had been accountable
only to the Church. To prevent a rise in the power of the Church,
and to increase his own wealth, Philip set out to take over the
year 1307 saw the beginning of the persecution of the Knights. Jacques
DeMolay, along with hundreds of others, were seized and thrown into
dungeons. For seven years, DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture
and inhuman conditions. While the Knights did not end, Philip managed
to force Pope Clement to condemn the Templars. Their wealth and
property were confiscated and given to Philip's supporters.
years of torture, Jacques DeMolay continued to be loyal to his friends
and Knights. He refused to disclose the location of the funds of
the Order and he refused to betray his comrades. On March 18, 1314,
DeMolay was tried by a special court. As evidence, the court depended
on a forged confession, allegedly signed by DeMolay.
DeMolay disavowed the forged confession. Under the laws of the time,
the disavowal of a confession was punishable by death. Another Knight,
Guy of Auvergne, likewise disavowed his confession and stood with
Philip ordered them both to be burned at the stake that day, and
thus the story of Jacques DeMolay became a testimonial to loyalty