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I Read the News Today

1077 PROVING PAPAL POWER

CANOSSA COME IN?

A simple apology was not going to be enough for the Pope to lift his excommunication of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Before he could be granted forgiveness, Henry had to trek nearly 500 miles from Germany, to Canossa Castle in northern Italy, which involved crossing the Alps. He allegedly made parts of the journey barefoot and wearing a hairshirt as extra proof of his penance. And if he thought his ordeal would end once he arrived in January 1077, he was sorely mistaken. Pope Gregory VII made him wait, kneeling, at the gate to the castle for three days – during a blizzard.

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