1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Pope Boniface VIII charged with heresy, Knights Templars seized by Inquisition, and more

Today in History - October 12
• St Leger put to death
• Pope Boniface VIII charged with heresy
• Knights Templars seized by Inquisition

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Pope Boniface VIII (image)

Pope Boniface VIII (c. 1230 -1303), who declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope's jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the power of the Roman pontiff.

On this date:

678—St Leger was put to death. He was Bishop of Autun and a self-seeking trouble maker who had allied himself with the nobles against the royal authority of Ebroin of Neustria, Mayor of the Palace, who was a kind of European Shogun, attempting to re-establish unity in the midst of general dissolution. When Clothaire III died Ebroin set up Theuderich while his enemies set up Childeric II. In the ensuing war Childeric was successful and Ebroin was exiled. St Leger made himsel obnoxious to the new regime who exiled him to the monastery of Luxeuil and Ebroin was restored while the good Saint came to a sticky end.

1303—Pope Boniface VIII died. He ruled with great pomp but had an unpleasant tendency to interfere with practically everybody, he refused to recognise the German King, Albert of Austria, humbled Eric VI of Denmark, claimed that he was overlord of Hungary and gave their crown to the Anjou, but got his come-uppance when he attempted to charge Edward I of England, conqueror of Scotland, with interfering with a Papal fief, as Scotland had never been a fief of Rome. In the end he himself was charged with holding the heretical Averroistic tenet that denied the immortality of the soul and was confined in the Vatican by the Orsini pending the hearing of this charge when he died.

1307—The arrests of the Knights Templars began when their Grand Master, Jacques de Molay and sixty of his brethren were seized by the Inquisition in Paris. The charges were heresy in various forms but the motives of the King of France in acceding to their arrest was money, of which he had great need, having robbed and expelled the Jewish and Lombard bankers and debased the coinage. Once the Templars were convicted, their property would revert to the Crown. There was also a proposal that all the knightly orders would amalgamate into one great order, and its Grand Master would always be a Prince of France. Amongst the orders only the Templars and Hospitallers were opposed to this.

1576—Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, died, refusing on his deathbed the last rites of the Church. He had spent his life trying to heal religious rifts and to get both sides to moderate their bloodletting, without success so was probably sick of the whole business.

Today's birthdays:
-- Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer (1872-1958).
-- James McAuley, poet (1917-76).

Thought for today:
Nay, in His confabulations with His chosen people, does not the Creator of the Universe Himself make the most astounding efforts to impress upon those Hebrews His importance, His power, His glory? Wasn't I made in His image?" — Logan Pearsall Smith.

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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