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Pope Gregory VII describes the occasion when a Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, arrives outside the pope's castle in a penitent state:

'He came with a small escort, showing neither hostility nor boldness, to the town of Canossa where we were staying. And having laid aside all the trappings of royalty, with bare feet, clad in wool, he continued for three days to stand before the gate of the castle. Nor did he desist from imploring with many tears the aid and consolation of apostolic mercy until he had moved all who were present there to such pity and deep compassion that, interceding for him with many petitions and tears, all wondered at the unaccustomed hardness of our heart. Finally we loosed the bond of excommunication and received him back into communion.'

Quoted Encylopaedia Britannica 1972, xvii, page 251

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