The truth about Friday the thirteenth
By H.J. Cruz
Seven hundred years ago to the day, in 1307, the French king Phillip the fair conspired with Pope Clement to have all the Nights Templar arrested throughout Europe in a wicked scheme to control their assets and bury his indebtedness. What followed was a horrific tale of betrayal, torture and mutilation that had not been seen on French soil since the demise of the Cathars. It became the inquisition of inquisitions as friars skilled in brutal tactics turned brave knights into mumbling fools as their feet hands and genitals were cut or slowly roasted for vile admissions of heresy. Thousands of those unwilling to submit to such blasphemy were burned at the stake in utter shock and bewilderment, amid harrowing screams of retribution.
The Knights Templar, the pious, the chivalrous. Once stood champions of truth, justice and welfare. Once called the Popes army, with a history of leading crusader’s on the fields of battle, were reduced to ashes in a matter of months ending a reign that stood for two hundred years. Their Grand Master, Jaques De Molay suffered a similar fate and was heard cursing the pope and king that they would stand with him before God as they lit the pyre. Both King Phillip and his puppet Pope would die coincidental deaths within the year.
The enigmatic warrior monks left with their secrets and their legendary treasure was never found by the greedy King who searched high and low for it. Red hot pokers probed defiant eye sockets for its whereabouts, yielding only misery as Templar blood soaked the mortar of their keeps.
Surviving knights fled on privately owned fleets to Scotland, Portugal and other templar strongholds that were out of reach from the mad king. The mystery of what they unearthed in the holy land after the first crusade has prompted many a tale. But whatever lie buried under the ruins of King Herods old Temple may have led them to become the wealthiest order in all of Europe, bankrolling kings, fiefdoms and churches near and far. In fact they were the precursors to modern day lending institutions and are rumored to be behind the Swiss banking institution’s humble beginnings. They were rumored to have fought along side William Wallace in his war for independence from England, and they have been rumored to have been the reason Portugal became so advanced in maritime navigation, giving birth to The Order of Christ or The Cross which could be seen emblazoned upon the sail’s of Columbus’s ships. Compare these red crosses with the ones the Templar’s wore and it becomes quite obvious, for Columbus was not Italian as many believed but in fact a Portuguese, keeping many a chart sealed away while offering swampland to King Ferdinand And Queen Isabella who never trusted the man.
Many secret societies had become entrenched in Europe shortly thereafter, and these groups were well organized and collectively powerful with members who were some of the greatest freethinking intellects of their time, and some were members of parliament and other ruling bodies, searching for opportunities to implement their ideals; ideals that were not in keeping with dynastic tradition, but screamed for something better; the seeds of liberty and democracy were sown by these fringe groups who loathed the monarchy. As religious persecution waned Masonic groups began springing up throughout Europe in the early seventeenth century within a hundred years they became chartered and entrenched. The New Atlantis was so close to becoming a reality they could taste it, but not before more blood was spilt on the new continent called America. If we look hard it’s not difficult to surmise who prompted and helped finance the revolutions for liberty & democracy in America and France. Their tombstones will all have a square and compass inscribed over their names.
Now perhaps we can see the seven hundred year old seeds that grew out of Black Friday 1307, for those heinous acts of bloody fields and charred flesh became the fertilizer for the idealisms that grew into the freedoms we came to know. They were not earned without great commitment and sacrifice.
The idealistic secret societies are gone now, my brother masons are but icons bathed in allegory, to old to sharpen a sword let alone wield one on humanities battle field. But this does not mean the seeds fostering continued growth lay dormant. When over taxation breeds government binging anarchy looms, when religious zealotry dictates policy anarchy looms, and when social classis clash anarchy looms. Must we suffer as did the Knights Templar, being raked over the coals?
I think not!