history meme: 03/10 moments | The Arrets of the Knights Templars and the end of the Order
Founded in France, the Knights Templar were among the most wealthy and powerful of the Western Christian military orders. The organization existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages. Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.
The Templars’ existence was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded. Rumours about the Templars’ secret initiation ceremony created mistrust and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Order, took advantage of the situation.
On Friday, 13 October 1307 (a date sometimes linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition) the King, with the support of the Pope Clement, ordered the Templar Grand Master de Molay and scores in Paris to be arrested. 138 persons in the capital were incarcerated. The same happened simultaneously in all the Temples of the Kingdom of France. The Templars were charged with numerous offences (including apostasy, idolatry, heresy, obscene rituals and homosexuality, financial corruption and fraud, and secrecy). Many of the accused confessed to these charges under torture, and these confessions, even though obtained under duress, caused a scandal, precipitating the fall of the Order. Dozens of Templars burned at the stake.
According to legend, the Templar Grand Master called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King Philip would soon meet him before God: “God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death!”. Pope Clement died only a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the end of the year. [more]