On this Day: January 28, 1077 | Walk to Canossa

28 January 1077: Walk to Canossa: The excommunication of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, is lifted after he humbles himself before Pope Gregory VII at Canossa in Italy. (Source)

Henry at the gate of Canossa, painted 1882 – Author: August von Weyden, died 19th cent. (Source)

The Humiliation of Canossa, (Italian: L’umiliazione di Canossa), sometimes called the Walk to Canossa (German: Gang nach Canossa/Kanossa)[1] or the Road to Canossa, was the ritual submission of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV to Pope Gregory VII at Canossa Castle in 1077 during the Investiture controversy. It involved the Emperor journeying to Canossa, where the Pope had been staying as the guest of Margravine Matilda of Tuscany, to seek absolution and the revocation of his excommunication.

According to contemporary sources, he was forced to supplicate himself on his knees waiting for three days and three nights before the entrance gate of the castle, while a blizzard raged. Indeed, the episode has been described as “one of the most dramatic moments of the Middle Ages“. It has also spurred much debate among medieval chroniclers as well as modern historians, who argue about whether the walk was a “brilliant masterstroke” or a humiliation. (Source)


I am Volker Schunck and live in Dresden, Germany. First I was an industrial clerk, then I studied theology. Through my engagement with Zen, I became aware of the Christian mysticism. Meanwhile, I go my own way. For me, faith is not a world-view but a being. It is important to me, not to live lost in thought but aware and intensely. For me, this also includes careful handling of other people. The NVC (Nonviolent Communication), which I learned during my training as a mediator, helps me with this.

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