FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH AND JACQUES DEMOLAY
Jacques DeMolay was the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar and was put to death in 1314 on orders of King Philip IV, also called Philip The Fair, of France. This occurred after years of torture by agents of the king alleging all sorts of heinous conduct by members of the order, including heresy toward the church. Those members had been arrested by Philip's men after he was in very deep debt to the Templar Order and could not repay the massive loans. Philip decided the easiest thing to do would be to kill the ones to whom he owed the money. The burning at the stake of DeMolay and his top three lieutenants, Geoffrey de Charney, Godfrey de Goneville and Hugh de Peralde, took place on Friday the Thirteenth by the Notre Dame Cathedral on L'Isle De La Cité, an island in the center of Paris. Thus, that calendar date has come down to us as an unlucky date these 701 years later.
Yearly, the Grand Master's DeMolay Degree is held in the Atlanta Masonic Center at which time the events of the trials of DeMolay and his three top preceptors at the hands of the Inquisition and their eventual murder are dramatized. Senior DeMolay members of the cast belong to the Leon P. Edmondson Court of Chevaliers.
The original extended events, the seven years of imprisonment and torture, are necessarily condensed into a drama to remind the audience what it means to be faithful to one's principles and friends and what it takes to endure great evil.
The Grand Master's Class is also the occasion of the initiation of new members into the George Washington Chapter. This is the Georgia DeMolay alumni chapter and takes adult males age 21 and over who were not DeMolays in their youth and provides them with the degrees and obligations of DeMolay. After taking the degrees, they become lifetime members in the DeMolay Alumni Association. They are also given the title of "Honorary Senior DeMolays."
The Grand Master's DeMolay Degree and George Washington Chapter events will be held at the Atlanta Masonic Center March 14th with lunch at Noon and the degrees beginning at 1 PM.