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Kissing the Pope's Toe

Matthew of Westminister says, it was customary formerly to kiss the hand of his Holiness; but that a certain woman, in the eighth century, not only kissed the Pope's hand, but “squeezed it.” The Church magnate seeing the danger to which he was exposed, cut off his hand, and was compelled in future to offer his foot, a custom which has continued to the present hour.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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