Today is Friday the 13th and there will be many people who will wear good luck charms all day, and others that will go so far as to refuse to leave home, just in case something unlucky happen to them. So why is this such a ‘different’ day?
There is a legend of the origin of Friday the 13th as unlucky – and that comes from the persecution of the Knights Templar back in the 14th Century. It was on Friday 13th October 1307 that King Philip IV of France, in league with Pope Clement V, ordered all Templars to be rounded up and thrown into prison. King Philip IV had borrowed enormous sums of money to finance a war with England. However, Philip was a poor king and an even worse military commander and was easily defeated. However, he saw a way of both currying favour with the Pope and eliminating his huge debt and, on that fateful day of Friday, October 13th 1307 he ordered all Templars to be arrested and their property seized.
Their ‘trial’ was a farce and the Templars were charged with heresy, worshiping false idols and other crimes against the church. Many of them were tortured until they ‘confessed’ to their crimes. One Templar, Jacque De Molay, refused to nether capitulate nor confess and Philip ordered him to be burned at the stake.
The Knights Templar, which had dominated medieval life for two centuries, was no more. Unfortunately for Philip, the Templars had learned of his planned treachery beforehand. Many of them escaped and their vast stores of treasure were hidden from the King’s soldiers.
Another legend that has also persisted is that Jacque De Molay, that last Grandmaster of the Order, cursed both Philip IV and Pope Clement V, as he died. Now – whether or not you believe in curses – both Philip and Clement died within months of De Molay’s death.
In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring that the Templars were innocent of their alleged crimes – perhaps a case of ‘better now than never’.