A castle of Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, 12 miles from Reggio, where Henry IV of Germany did penance in presence of Pope Gregory VII (January 1077). Henry, who had been excommunicated and whose excesses had prompted his subjects to demand his deposition, took the initiative of meeting the pope, who, hearing of his coming, but not knowing his intentions, had taken refuge at Canossa. After waiting three days in the garb of a penitent, Henry was received back into the Communion of the Church, but subsequent events proved he was not sincere. Canossa is now in ruins, the castle-well and "gate of penance" alone remain.

New Catholic Dictionary

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