Saint Jacques of Molay

Jacques de Molay:

Born about 1244 in Molay, France
Died March 18, 1314 in Paris, France

Last grand master of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templar. Died a martyrs death at the age of 70 by burning at the command of King Philip IV of France.

  • Dubbed a Knight at the age of 21
  • Entered the order of Templar knights in 1265
  • Elected Grand Master of the order in 1298
  • Planned a crusade to retake the Holy Land
  • Resisted attempts to unify the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller arguing that rivalry between the two orders forced each toward excellence
  • As recorded in the Chinon Parchment, Pope Clement V absolved de Molay of his sins in 1308
  • Executed in 1314 after recanting false guilty statement obtained through torture

“Molay entered the order in 1265, fought in Syria, and after 1291 was at Cyprus. He was elected grand master of the Templars about 1298. Summoned to France (1306 or 1307) by Pope Clement V to discuss a new Crusade, Molay asked the pope to investigate certain spurious accusations of blasphemy and sodomy that had recently been made against his order. On October 13, 1307, all the Templars in France, including Molay, were arrested and interrogated by command of Philip IV, who was intent on crushing the order and seizing its wealth. On October 24, 1307, Molay, probably under torture, confessed that some of the charges brought against the order were true, but he rejected a charge of sodomy. He wrote to Templars throughout France, enjoining confession, but, when the pope sent his own delegates to conduct the inquiries, Molay and many of his subjects retracted their statements, saying they had been exacted by torture. In November 1309 and in March 1310, Molay appealed for a personal judgment by the pope. Clement decided to suppress the order (March 1312), and on March 18 or 19, 1314, a commission of three cardinals condemned Molay and other dignitaries of the order to perpetual imprisonment. On hearing this sentence, Molay again retracted his confession, and as a final punishment he was burned as a relapsed heretic by Philip IV’s officers the same afternoon.” [1]

It is well documented in history that King Philip the Fair was deeply in financial debt to the Templars and with the destruction of the order and the death of Grand Master Jacques de Molay, that debt was erased. Having recanted his confession extracted by the most heinous torture, de Molay stated, ““On this terrible day,” … “in my final hour, I shall let truth triumph and declare, before heaven and all the saints, that I have committed the greatest of all crimes.” … “But my crime is this: that I confessed to malicious charges made against an order that is innocent so that I could escape further torture. I shall not confirm a first lie with a second. I renounce life willingly. I have no use for days of sorrow earned only by lies.” [2]

In September 2001, Barbara Frale found a copy of the Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives, a document which explicitly confirms that in 1308 Pope Clement V absolved Jacques de Molay and other leaders of the Order including Geoffroi de Charney and Hugues de Pairaud. She published her findings in the Journal of Medieval History in 2004.  Another Chinon parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, well known to historians, stated that absolution had been granted to all those Templars that had confessed to heresy “and restored them to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church” [3]

In light of all the historical evidence which serves to exonerate Grand Master de Molay and the Knights Templar of the lies used to falsely accuse them of heresy, we the People of Saint Michael’s do choose to canonize Jacques de Molay as a Saint, not just on the weight of his martyrdom but on the fact that he was a Just and honorable soldier for Christ.

Today we see a certain degree of parallels between Jacques de Molay’s life defending the Church of Christ as well as the attacks he was under from those overwhelmed with greed and corruption.  Today we see innocent Christians coming under attack from a secular “Darkness” a mindset that has weaponized our legal and social systems.

We choose to venerate Jacques de Molay and look to the example he set as a follower of Christ, seeking inspiration and strength as many of us are falsely accused as de Molay was  Seven Hundred and Nine years ago.  Let the people of Saint Michael’s and friends, recognize 18 March as the Feast Day of Saint de Molay.


Presiding Bishop


[1]Michael Ray. “Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of Knights Templar.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2023. 14 Mar. 2023

[2] Christopher Check. “The Sad History of the Knights Templar.” Catholic Answers Magazine. 2/1/2009. 14 Mar. 2023

[3] Jacques de Molay, from Wikipedia