Born in France in 1243, Jacques de Molay was the last Grand Master of The Order of Knights Templar. Coming from a wealthy Family, Molay joined The Order in 1265, and was sent to battle in Syria (The Middle East). In 1298, he was elected to Grand Master. Molay approached Pope Clement V in 1307 with a “Grand Plan” (he had developed), for a “new” Crusade. Molay had other reasons for meeting The Pope, however. The Pontiff had been thinking of restructuring “his” Religious Military Orders. One part of his plan was the “merging” of The Templars with The Hospitallers (St. John). The Templars and Hospitallers were rivals (both in Europe and The Middle East). Both Orders owned massive land tracts. This was just part of Molay's disaster. Word got back to France's King Philip IV.
He was an ardent supported of The Hospitallers. Philip had sought “approval” from The Pope to arrest Molay and declare Then Templar's “outside of The Church”. The Pope secretly gave his consent. It was no secret that over the pas 50 years, The Templar Order had monopolized on The Crusades. They were almost as wealthy as The Church herself! In fact, many time Rome “borrowed” from The Templar Order!. By “removing” them, all “debts” would be removed as well. In October of 1307, Molay was arrested (along with the rest of The Paris Templar House). Philip declared The Order “Inviolate” and “Heretical”. He decreed ANY Templar could be arrest (or killed) on site.
Molay was put on trial in Paris. Ex-Ordermen (supposedly), testified that The Oder practices “rituals” and many were actually Muslim. Molay was even accused of Sodomy. Placed into the “hands” of The Inquisition, Molay was tortured. He confessed to “blasphemy” but NOT Sodomy. Pope Clement sent a Council to Paris to set “punishment” on Molay. He promptly recanted. Molay was thrown into Prison for 5 years while throughout Europe, Templar's (and those associated with them), were hunted down. On March 19, 1314, a Council of Cardinals sentenced Molay to Life Imprisonment.
He again recanted his earlier testimony (on the grounds that he was tortured). The Cardinals had enough. Molay was sentenced to be burnt at The Stake (Seine, 1314). Many hundreds of years later, The Church recanted it's original “condemnation” of Molay and The Order.