Jacques DeMolay, the namesake of the Order of DeMolay was born in, France in 1244. At 21, DeMolay joined the Order of Knights Templar.
The Knight’s Templar were founded in 1118, when nine knights took vows to protect Jerusalem and the Holy Lands, recently captured by the first crusade.
The Templar’s were ferocious warriors; pitching themselves into the midst of their enemies, astride charging war-horses, against incredible odds and quickly earned a name for valor and heroism. Sanctioned by the Catholic Church, and with many nobles and princes sending their sons to join the Knights Templar, the Order became very wealthy and popular throughout Europe.
The Order was said to possess 9000 estates and great wealth, which was deposited in its temples at Paris and London. Numerous princes and private individuals banked their personal property there, because of the uprightness and solid credit of such bankers. In Paris the Royal Family’s treasure was kept in the Temple.
In 1298, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a position of power and prestige. He was however in a difficult position. In the eyes of European monarchs and the Church, the Templar’s raison d’etre had ceased with the loss of the Holy Lands. Philip IV (the fair) of France, who like much European royalty was deeply in dept to the Order, had seen their treasures stored in Paris. To prevent a rise in the power of the Church, and to increase his own wealth, Philip set out to take over the Knights.
On Friday morning October 13, 1307 (and the reason for which Friday the 13th has been known ever since as an unlucky day), Phillip with French Pope Clement V, ruthlessly tried to suppress the Order throughout Europe, with false accusations, arrests, torture and executions. Owing to the lack of evidence, the accused could be convicted only through their own confession and, to extort this confession, the use of torture was considered necessary and legitimate.
Many of the accused declared themselves guilty of these secret crimes only after being subjected to such ferocious torture, that many of them died.
While the Templar’s wealth and property were confiscated and given to Philip’s supporters in France, most of the rest of Europe found them innocent and left them to merge with other orders.
For seven years, DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture and inhuman conditions. DeMolay continued loyal and refused to betray his at-large comrades or disclose the location of the Templar’s funds.
On March 18, 1314, the Pope planned for DeMolay & his three first dignitaries to publicly confess their guilt and be reconciled to the Church. A platform was erected in front of the great Notre-Dame Cathedral to hear the confession.
Jacques DeMolay instead professed the innocence of the Templar’s and the falsity of his own alleged confessions. Another Knight, Guy of Aubergine, likewise disavowed his confession and stood with Jacques DeMolay.
King Philip ordered them both to be burned at the stake that day before the gates of the palace,
This brave death deeply impressed the people, and, as it happened that the Pope and the King died shortly afterwards, the legend spread that DeMolay in the midst of the flames had summoned them both to appear within the year before the tribunal of God.
Thus the story of Jacques DeMolay became a testimonial to loyalty and friendship.
It has been said that a day can be changed or a great moment launched by a single phone call.
Such a call came in January of 1919. As Frank answered the telephone he recognized the voice of Sam Freet, newly installed Senior Warden of Ivanhoe Lodge. “Frank, I have a favor to ask. One of our members, Elmer E. Lower, who had been initiated as a Fellow Craft, died a year ago. Could you find a part-time job for the oldest boy, Louis? He is one of the finest young men I have ever seen.”