October 13, 1307 : The Destruction of the Templars
On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered Grand Master Jacques de Molay and hundreds of French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. They were charged with heresy, idolatry, corruption and other crimes against the church. Many of the Templars were tortured into confessing their crimes and then killed. Others were killed for refusing to confess.
Jacques DeMolay did not capitulate and was burned at the stake. In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring the Templars innocent of their alleged crimes.
The Knights Templar ( the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon in Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), were a religious order of unmarried men, formed around A.D. 1119 to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, many Christians donated their land and their money to the order making the knights powerful financiers. Their houses, churches and farms dotted the countryside throughout Europe providing employment for thousands of people. They started an international banking system that allowed nobles to deposit funds and valuables for safekeeping and they occasionally helped to finance wars until 1307, when the French King Philip IV, deeply in debt to the order for the money received to finance a war with England ordered to arrest all of them and to seize their property.
The standard accusation against political enemies in the early 14th century was to accuse them of being involved in heresy or magic, and Philip IV chose heresy. It was the King of France, not Pope Clement V, who accused them of that crime! Later, the Pope disbanded the order
Some pseudo-historians like to think there was a conspiracy theory: the Templars were doing something the church didn’t like, and for this reason the Pope dispersed them
It all happened on Friday the 13th : that’s why this date has been associated with bad luck for centuries.