After the recognition of the Templars at the Council of Troyes, they scored another political victory when Pope Innocent II issued a Papal Bull in 1139 which freed them from allegiance to any king. They answered only to the pope, and neither king nor bishop could levy taxes on them. With such strong approval from the Church, they became a favorite charity for the nobles, and a convenient destination for third and fourth born sons.
They grew in both Europe and the Holy Land, building castles, distinctive round churches, and fortified headquarters in major cities. They also moved out from being a strictly military organization to something of a multi-national commercial operation. They engaged in manufacturing, trade, shipping, and most importantly banking. Their commercial ventures allowed them to support their military operations, and their military might allowed them to protect it all. Significantly, they became lenders to many of the kings and nobles of Europe.
In the Prolog of The Templar Concordat, the Templar Marshall refers to this origin when he says, "We grew from nine penniless knights in Jerusalem to the most powerful force in Europe over the last two hundred years… military, banking, commerce…"