In 1314, King Philip IV of France burned at the stake Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
Born about 1245 A.D. not much is known about Jacques de Molay’s early life. He may have come from minor nobility and joined the Knights Templar in his 20s. From there he helped out his people and rose in the ranks to Grand Master, the last of the grandmasters.
Early in the 1300s, King Philip IV wanted to combine two orders into one under his control. One order, the Knights Templar, fought battles. While the other order, Knights Hospitaller, would take care of those hurt in battle. Jacques de Molay opposed combining the orders. He felt the two orders did better apart. This opposition upset the king.
When de Molay returned to France, he noticed many negative rumors had spread in regards to the Knights Templar. People accused them of sodomy, heresy, and worshipping Satan. King Philip used these rumors to arrest all the Knights Templars in France.
Originally, de Molay confessed to heresy but denied the rest. After a few years, de Molay retracted his confession, saying he had only said it to save his life. Continually, he denied any wrongdoing up to his death, burning at the stake. While he burned it is said that he yelled out a curse on the king and the pope. The pope died a little over a month after the death of de Molay. The king died a few months later, and none of his sons had heirs before their deaths. Potentially, the curse of Jacques de Molay came true.
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