Graffiti des Templiers - Crédit : Léonard de Serres
Graffiti des Templiers - Crédit : Léonard de Serres

Jacques de Molay

(around 1243 - 1314)

Jacques de Molay was the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, an elite body of soldier monks founded in the 12th centurye to ensure the safety of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. Originally from the village of Molay (Franche Comté), he was received into the Order as a brother knight in 1265 in Beaune.

After having fought in the Holy Land, he was appointed to head the Order in 1292. He led it until its dissolution in 1314. But, like all the other Templars, he was arrested by the king of France in the autumn of 1307 and accused of heresy. He was about forty-two years old at the beginning of the seven-year trial. It was in this context that he was locked up in the Fortress of Chinon from June to August 1308. Between 17 and 20 August, the Pope's emissaries went to the Fortress to collect his testimony, as well as that of other dignitaries. The result was an important document for the history of the Order, the Chinon parchment, which is kept in the secret archives of the Vatican. The dignitaries of the Order confessed their sins there, to obtain the forgiveness of the church.

After the Chinon episode and many twists and turns, Jacques de Molay was executed at the stake along with Geoffroy de Charnay on 18 March 1314 on the island of Javiaux, west of the Ile de la Cité (Paris).