The original Templar Knights returned to France after spending their initial nine years in Jerusalem ready to expand their organization. They had a powerful supporter of an influential church figure in Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard was the founder of a Cistercian monestary and was the nephew of one of the founding Templar Knights Andre de Montbard. Bernard championed the cause of the Templars presenting them as a spiritual militia for Christ who were a "new species of knighthood, previously unknown in the secular world". He led a group of leading churchmen at the Council of Troyes where Pope Honorius II recongnized and approved the Order of the Knights Templar in 1129. Bernard was later canonized in 1174 by Pope Alexander III to become Saint Bernard.
With the blessing of Pope Honorius III the Order of the Knights Templar soon became a favorite charity and they entered an impressive fund raising campaign. The Order received donations in the form of money, land and businesses. They also accepted noble born sons into the order to help continue the fight in the Holy Land. The Order received another boost in 1139 when Pope Innocent II issued the Omne Datum Optimum which was a Papal Bull that officialy approved Templar Rule, gave them papal protection, allowed them to keep all spoils gained during Muslim conquest in the Crusades and gave the Order exemption from tithes and taxes.
The Order of the Knights Templar had quickly grown past their impoverished roots often portrayed by two knights riding one horse. They were building a wealthy empire with donated property in France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland and Italy. While part of the fund raising went to supported the training and supporting the Knights for the Crusades other resources were used to build castles, fortresses and churches. Besides the aforementioned countries the Order also built in England, Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel and Syria.
Knights Templar page