Today is Friday 13th. The only one, I’m told, that will have a “full moon” until 2049, or so I’m told, not that I understand why that would be significant.
But the story behind why we fear Friday the 13th, begins long before Jason Voorhees stepped on the big screen.
On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V’s coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently. It is further said Jacques de Molay, Magister (Master of the Knights of the Temple) cursed King Philip IV of France and his descendants from his execution pyre. As he was about to be executed, he appealed “from this your heinous judgement to the living and true God, who is in Heaven”, warning the pope that, within a year and a day, he and Philip IV would be obliged to answer for their crimes in God’s presence. Philip and Clement V both died within a year of Molay’s execution. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention” “Friday the 13th”. snopes.com. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
You see the Templar were a religious knighthood order, and as part of the religion, they had to take a vow of poverty. It became the very “in” thing to do, and so wealthy lords and knights would give up their lands and money to the order and join up escorting people to the holyland. Kind of like a high-fire power religious tour guide company.
Of course, there is any amount of superstition and myth about what they were “Really up to”, including digging up the the temple of Solomon. Most of that information is pretty tainted because the source is unrelaiable.
You see, the King wanted the Land, and the Church hated competition. And so, on Friday the 13th, the Templar were to assemble under a sacred tree in France but instead of meeting the authorities they expected, they were arrested.
Most of them were tortured. The leader was burned at the Pyre, another was made to walk before the king while carrying his recently removed feet in a box.
Under torture they confessed to all kinds of things. Worshipping Satan, penis-based rituals, finding secret documents, really all kinds of craziness, which was used to justify the torture and arrests made.
So despite all the hullabaloo over John Dehlin, Kate Kelly and Rock Waterman (and others) we can be grateful that torture and death are not on the table for heretics who ask questions these days at least.
(Sources for my knowledge come mainly from the BYU library where I researched the Templar in depth during my college days. I didn’t write down the sources at that time, and this post isn’t meant to be perfectly historical, mostly just illustrative.