Posts Tagged ‘HEAD’

Ancient Christian Coptic Oriental Orthodox icons – The reason for asymmetric body members in early Christian iconography

Monday, July 30th, 2012

While checking some information on Coptic Eastern Oriental faith, I've stumbled upon a very beautiful (and unique) ancient Orthodox Christian icon depicting Saint Menas and our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, below is the very beautiful icon

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

As you can see the iconography is very interesting, the images differ from modern day iconography the portraits are not looking so serious but looks like "childish". This childish forms and faces on the early Christian iconography is not accidental; it expresses the childish like pure faith our Christian devoted ancestors had. This early Christian faith and spiritual life icon is obviously in conjunction with our Saviour Jesus Christ words as red in the Gospel according to Matthew:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:1-5

This icon as well as the early Christian icons are very different from nowdays iconography probably for reason;
the images difference, the seriousness and the lack of brightness in the faces of nowdays iconography is a clear sign of the great decay of both Orthodox Christian as well as the down-fall of spiritual life worldly.
I've seen similar childish looking image icons in some Bulgarian ancient relics museums in my child years and always thought the depictions are so kiddish because iconographers of that time did not have the painting knowledge and skills to draw better ones.
Now as I know Christianity much better than then, I understand my previous assumption for the reason of the kiddish looking images is wrong.
Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Very interesting in the early Christian iconography are the shapes. If you take a close look to above icon, you will notice the disparity of the two body members; the hands, head and eyes are unusually big. My guess for the lack of correspondence of body members is the attempt of early iconographers to put accent on most important members of our bodies;

– The head (holding the mind and thoughts of the saints)
– The hands through which the daily food is raised and the eyes through which the world is comprehended are much bigger than in a real person portrait.
– The mouth which is almost the size of the eyes; obvious reference that for early Christian contemplating was much more precious (important) thing, than speech.
This is also in accordance with the New Testament holy scriptures which says like so concerning the tongue:

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs?
Nor can salt water produce fresh.

Notice also the Halos of the two saints, the size of the halos is almost one third of the whole body of the saints. The Gospel hold by our and all humanity Saviour Jesus Christ is also enormous sized; corresponding almost the height of the arm of Christ on the icon.
The size of the Gospel stresses out the importance of the Holy Bible writtings for early Christians. Nowdays the size of Gospels or Holy Bible especially among protestant Churches "tradition" is becoming smaller and smaller following the spirit of the time proclaiming mobility …

Today the iconography Orthodox Christian "school" has severely changed and the icon images are much more complicated than in ancient times.
The complication of images and elements on Orthodox Icons is a "mirror" of the internal complicated world of us modern-time Christians. This over-complication of our internal spiritual world, does separate us from God instead of uniting us as it is well known in Holy Orthodox Christian tradition God is best known through simplicity and pureness in life thoughts and actions.

The Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is the only Church, where there is still iconographers drawing in the style of the ancient times childish looking icons. The reason Copts preserved this ancient iconography is that they have conservated big portion of the ancient faith rejecting the decisions of all 7 Orthodox Ecumenical Church Councils. Copts still accept only ecumenical council decisions up to the III-rd ecumenical council. This is also the reason why Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christians are considered not in official communion with the rest of Eastern Orthodox Churches. I had the opportunity by God's grace to meet an Coptic Orthodox Christian (a guy called Baky); From what I've seen and experienced within the few months with Baky my conclusion is Coptic Orthodox layman faith is much stronger than the one in most of other Orthodox Christians I know. The official standpoint of our Eastern Orthodox Church concerning the copts are that they're in heresy and not really orthodox. I'm not sure if this is really true, since I have spend few months with this Coptic Christian brother this autumn and winter and from what I've seen and heard as well as researched on coptic Orthodox it seems their overall Church teaching, Holy Liturgies and everything is very much orthodox (with very little service and faith differences). Here are few beautiful Coptic Orthodox Christian icons still being drawn in the spirit of early days Christianity.

Saint Abba Anthony the Great Coptic Oriental orthodox Icon

Abba (saint) Anthony the Great the father of Orthodox Christian Monastic Life

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon Abba Anthony and saint Paul

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon of Saint Anothony the Great – "the founder" of Monastic life

Coptic Oriental Orthodox Icon Tobias old testamential Book story

Tobias Old Testamential Story coptic icon

Holy Family Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox Icon

Holy Family – Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox oriental icon

Christ the Saviour Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Christ the Saviour – Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental icon

Saint Athanasius defender of pure orthodoxy Oriental Orthodox icon

Saint Athnasius coptic orth icon

The Dormition of Holy Theotokos Mother Mary Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon

The Dormition of Virgin Mary Coptic icon

A list of Christian Metal website resources on the Net for Christian Metal lovers

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

I’ve been an old times Metal head. The moment I accepted Jesus Christ as a Lord and Saviour and been visited by the Lord’s Holy Ghost grace, my life changed severely. I found out most of the metal bands, I used to be regularly listening to is against Christ and anti-christian in essence, I still however hold my love for Metal as my teenage years were dominated by Metal Music. Happily I found there is plenty of nice Metal music a Metal head could enjoy that are written for glorification of Christ and hence did not have the negative spiritual anti-christian charge that is so typical for a lot of the bads in the metal music world. Recently I’m not listening to as much music as few years from now but still every now and then I like playing some of my old Christian metal loved bands. I was maintaining a small list of Christian metal nice bands I found and playlisted on youtube. If you’re a metal geek you might enjoy my old christian metal playlist here 🙂.

For Christians, who are looking for online Christian Metal community I also suggest you check out Firestream – The believer’s Heavy Music Refugee . There are plenty of other interesting places on the net dedicated for Christian metal fans;;;

I will end up this post with 2 videos of one very favourite Ukrainian Christian Metal band – Angel 7;

Angel 7 – Jesus the Saviour

Angel 7 – The Last Day

There are probably plenty of other nice Christian Metal sites and resources on the net; surely I’m missing a lot here? if you know some other good Christian Rock / Metal resources please drop a comment.

Script to Automatically change current MySQL server in wp-config.php to another MySQL host to minimize WordPress and Joomla downtimes

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I'm running a two servers for a couple of home hosted websites. One of the servers is serving as Apache host1 and has configured MySQL running on it and the second is used just for database host2 – (has another MySQL configured on it).
The MySQL servers are not configured to run as a MySQL MASTER and MySQL SLAVE (no mysql replication), however periodically (daily), I have a tiny shell script that is actualizing the data from the active SQL host2 server to host1.

Sometimes due to electricity problems or CPU overheats the active MySQL host at host2 gets stoned and stops working causing the 2 WordPress based websites and One joomla site inaccessible.
Until I manually get to the machine and restart host2 the 3 sites are down from the net and as you can imagine this has a very negative impact on the existing website indexing (PageRank) in Google.

When I'm at home, this is not a problem as I have physical access to the servers and if somethings gets messy I fix it quickly. The problem comes, whether I'm travelling or in another city far from home and there is no-one at home to give the hanged host hard reboot ….

Lately the problems with hang-ups of host2 happaned 3 times or so for 2 weeks, as a result the websites were inaccessible for hours and since there is nobody to reboot the server for hours; the websites keep hanging until the DB host is restarted ;;;;

To work-around this I came with the idea to write a tiny shell script to check if host2 is ping-able in order to assure the Database host is not down and then if script determines host2 (mysql) host is down it changes wp-config.php (set to use host2) to a wp-config.php (which I have beforehand configured to use) host1.

Using the script is a temporary solution, since I have to actually find the real hang-up causing troubles, but at least it saves me long downtimes. Here is a download link to the script I called .
I've configured the script to be run on the Apache node (host1) via a crontab calling the script every 10 minutes, here is the crontab:

*/10 * * * * /usr/sbin/ > /dev/null 2>&1

The script is written in a way so if it determins host2 is reachable a copy of wp-config.php and Joomla's configuration.php tuned to use host2 is copied over the file config originals. In order to use the script one has to configured the head variables script section, e.g.:


You will have to manually prepare;;;

wp-config-localhost.php, wp-config- ,configuration-, wp-config-localhost.php to be existing files configured to with proper host1 and host2 IP addresses.
Hope the script will be useful to others, experiencing database downtimes with WordPress or Joomla installs.

How to convert file content encoded in windows-cp1251 charset to UTF-8 (with iconv) to be delivered properly encoded to browsing end clients

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

windows-cp1251 bulgarian to UTF-8 / Encoding Communication Decoding Communication Funny Picture

I have a bunch of old html files all encoded in the historically obsolete Windows-cp1251. Windows-CP1251 used to be common used 7 years ago and therefore still big portions of the web content in Bulgarian / Russian Cyrillic is still transferred to the end users in this encoding.

This was just before the "UTF-8 revolution", where massively people started using UTF-8,
Well it was clear the specific national country text encoding standards will quickly be moved by to UTF-8 – Universal Encoding format which abbreviation stands for (Unicode Transformation Format).

Though UTF-8 was clear to be "the future", many web developers mostly because of their incompetency or using an old sources of learning how to writen in HTML continued to use windows-cp1251 in HTMLs. I'm even convinced, there are still developers out there who are writting websites for Bulgarian / Russian / Macedonian customers using obsolete encodings …

The smarter developers of those accustomed to windows-cp1251, KOI-8R etc. etc., were using the meta tag to specify the type of charset of the web page content with:

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=windows-cp1251">


<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=koi-8r">

Anyhow, still many devs even didn't placed the windows-cp1251 in the head of the HTML …

The result for the system administrator is always a mess – a lot of webpages that are showing like unreadable signs and tons of unhappy customers.
As always the system administrator is considered responsible, for the programmer mistakes :). So instead of programmers fix their bad cooking, the admin has to fix it all!

One quick work around me as admin has applied to failing to display pages in Cyrillic using the Windows-cp1251 character encoding was to force windows-cp1251 as a default encoding for the whole virtualhost or Apache directory with Apache directives like:

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot /var/www/html
AddDefaultCharset windows-cp1251
AddDefaultCharset windows-cp1251

Though this mostly would, work there are some occasions, where only a particular html files from all the content served by Apache is encoded in windows-cp1251, if most of the content is already written in UTF-8, this could be a big issues as you cannot just change the UTF-8 globally to windows-cp1251, just because few pages are written in archaic encoding….
Since most of the content is displayed to the client by Apache (as prior explained) just fine, only particular htmls lets's ay single.html, single2.html etc. etc. are displayed with some question marks or some non-human readable "hieroglyphs".

Below is a screenshot from two pages returned to my browser in wrongly set htmls charset:

Improper Windows CP1251 encoding with Apache set to serve UTF-8 encoding questiomarks

Improper Windows CP1251 delivered page in UTF-8 browser view

Apache returns cp1251 in some non-UTF8 wrong encoding (webserver improperly served cyrillic encoding)

Improperly served encoding CP1251 delivered by Apache in non-utf-8 encoding

When this kind of issues occur, the only solution is to simply login to the server and use iconv command to convert all files returning unreadable content from whatever the non UTF-8 encoding is lets say in my case Bulgarian typeset of cp1251 to UTF-8

Here is how the iconv command to convert between windows-cp1251 to utf-8 the two sample files named single1.html and single2.html

server:/web# /usr/bin/iconv -f WINDOWS-1251 -t UTF-8 single1.html > single1.html.utf8
server:/web# mv single1.html single1.html.bak;
server:/web# mv single1.html.utf8 single1.html
server:/web# /usr/bin/iconv -f WINDOWS-1251 -t UTF-8 single2.html > single2.html.utf8
server:/web# mv single2.html single2.html.bak;
server:/web# mv single2.html.utf8 single2.html

I always, make copies of the original cp1251 encoded files (as you see mv single1.html single1.html.bak), because if something goes wrong with convertion I can easily revert back.

If there are 10 files with consequential numbers naming they can be converted using a short for loop, like so:

server:/web# for i $(seq 1 10); do
/usr/bin/iconv -f WINDOWS-1251 -t UTF-8 single$i.html > single$i.html.utf8;mv single$i.html single$i.html.bak
mv single$i.html.utf8 single$i.html

Just as earlier mentioned if single1.html, single2.html … has in the html <head>:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1251">

You should open, each of the files in question and wipe out the line either by hand or use sed to wipe it in one loop if it has to be done for lets say 10 files named (single{1..10})

server:/web# for i in $(seq 1 10); do
sed '/<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text\/html; charset=windows-1251>/d' single$i.txt > single$;
mv single$i.txt single$i.txt.bak;
mv single$ single$i.txt

Well now,

Why I never liked Mandrake Linux / Mankdrake Linux has took its name from an 1930s comics Mandrake the Magician

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I never liked Mandrake Linux, since day 1 I saw it.
Historically Mandrake Linux was one of the best Linux distributions available for free download in the "Linux scene" some 10 to 12 years ago.

Mandrake was simple gui oriented and trendy. It also one the Linux distribution with the most simplified installer program and generally a lot of GUI software for easy configuration and use by the end user.

Though it's outside nice look, still for me it was like an "intuition" that Mandrake is not so good as it appeared.

Now many years later I found by chance that Mandrake has been sued to change their Operating System name with another, due to a law suit requit by the copyright holders of Mandrake The Magician comics. "Mandrake the Magician" used to be a very popular before the Second World war in the 1930's.

Mandrake the Magician Comics Magazine from 1930's Cover, Mandrake the Black Magic Magician

It obviously not a co-incidence that the Mandrake names was after this comics and not the mandrake herb plants available in Europe, Africa and Asia. This is clear in Mandrake Linux distro earlier mascot, you see below:

Mandrake Linux old distribution logo, magician penguin

Later on they changed Mandrake's logo to loose the connection with Mandrake The Magician and used another new crafted logo:

Mandrake GNU Linux newer logo
Its quite stunning nowdays magician obsession, has so heavily infiltrated our lives that even something like a Free Softwre Linux distribution might have some kind of reference to magician and occult stuff (I saw this from the position of being Christian) …

Later due to the name copyright infringement Mandrake Linux was renamed first to Mandragora Linux.
Instead of putting some nice name non related to occultism or magic stuff the French commercian company behind Mandrake rename it to another non-Christian name Mandragora.
Interestingly the newer name Mandragora as one can read in wikipedia means:

Mandragora (demon), in occultism

Well apparently, someone from the head developers of this Linux distribution has a severe obsession with magic and occultism.

Later MandrakeSoft (The French Company behind Mandrake Linux) renamed finally the distribution to Mandriva under the influence of the merger of Mandrake with the Brazillian company Connectiva this put also an over to the legal dispute copyright infringement dispute with Hearst Corporation (owning the rights of Mandrake the Magician).

Having in mind all fact on current Mandriva "dark names history", I think it is better we Christians avoid it …

The Satanic roots of Metal and Rock Music genre – Two parts Christian movie exposing connection between Satanism and Metal music

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Some long time ago a bit before I repent and believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I've done quite an extensive research on the trustability of the Holy Bible and mostly the Church and Christian writtings. In that times, as an ex-metal head I had a profound interest if there is really a connection between Modern Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Music?

My research back then was quite thoroughful and I found plenty of proofs clearly showing a clear connection between most of the hard rock and heavy / death metal bands to satanism. I used to listen this anti-christian music for about 8 years repeatedly believing the message is not  really bad, even though subconsciously I knew something is not right with the music.

It was quite shocking to me to find that one of my favourite hard rock / psychedelic bands Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doors, Rolling Stones etc. e, had a clear connection with Alester Crawley (a new age occultist magician and a forefather of modern satanism …).

Crawley was a completely insane person proclaiming himself under the alias "The Beast". This psycho travelled all around America, cursing people and cities and teaching people to worship evil. In other words the guy was a complete modern day anti-christ. I found in youtube few short 20 minute, movies exposing the relation between the new age ecumenistic beliefs and Crawley. Along with the musicians spoken about and their exposure to be a bible and God deniers, the movie explains why the message of this popular figures is anti-Christian in essence. This short few movies explains how this terrible guy Crawley become an inspirator of many of the today world popular played rock bands in most of the radio stations …

Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 1)

Satanism – The Root of Rock Music (part 2)

Another interesting documentary exposing some of the major pop and rock culture and musicians connection with satanism and the occult is They Sold Their Souls to the devil. The movie is again a short research on popular musicians, who openly say in their interviews they sold their souls for fame to the devil. . Many of the star musicians featured in this videos, even say openly they're possessed by evil spirits.

They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 1 of 3

They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 2 of 3

They Sold Their Souls to the devil part 3 of 3

They Sold Thir Souls to the devil part 4 of 4

Some people might think this is a joke non-serious, some crazy christian propaganda, but if you watch it without bias and analyze it nomatter if Christian or atheist you will see most of the things said in the video reflect the reality. Actually it's very sad reality, today's world has rapidly headed towards non-christianity, occult and satanism. Believe it or not, the elite in the world, we see daily on TV or hear on the Radio and read for as heroes in the newspapers has a strong connection with magicians, occult and fake spirituality. Many of them think loving evil is fun and okay but in fact it is a big lie we're said. As I've red someone says, once a lie is repeated many times it appears to sound like truth….
Anyways we should know Evil is evil and no good can come of worshipping the evil our ancestors and forefathers knew that pretty well and they used to teach us in a spirit to obey good and walk after good and not evil. Modern pop-rock culture teach us something else it teach us to go after the ways of dis-obeying satan took … Pitily our dying generation forgot that evil seeking will bring just evil and now systematically many  governments and medias are working seriously for  destroying the Christian moral and pureness hence by that we  seek to destroy ourselves hurrying towards our own destruction….

Lets hope God will be merceful and turn more people to him and unveil them the truth we read in the Holy Bible. I have hope more and more people will realize that we have to be living in a moderate and saintly way and not like the rock and pop stars shown in those videos. We should pray for each other and love each other and keep an eye on our children to let them not go the bad ways of witchcraft, unholiness and sinfulness  the modern pop – rock culture push us to.

How to disable tidy HTML corrector and validator to output error and warning messages

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

I've noticed in /var/log/apache2/error.log on one of the Debian servers I manage a lot of warnings and errors produced by tidy HTML syntax checker and reformatter program.

There were actually quite plenty frequently appearing messages in the the log like:

To learn more about HTML Tidy see
Please fill bug reports and queries using the "tracker" on the Tidy web site.
Additionally, questions can be sent to
HTML and CSS specifications are available from
Lobby your company to join W3C, see
line 1 column 1 - Warning: missing <!DOCTYPE> declaration
line 1 column 1 - Warning: plain text isn't allowed in <head> elements
line 1 column 1 - Info: <head> previously mentioned
line 1 column 1 - Warning: inserting implicit <body>
line 1 column 1 - Warning: inserting missing 'title' element
Info: Document content looks like HTML 3.2
4 warnings, 0 errors were found!

I did a quick investigation on where from this messages are logged in error.log, and discovered few .php scripts in one of the websites containing the tidy string.
I used Linux find + grep cmds find in all php files the "tidy "string, like so:

server:~# find . -iname '*.php'-exec grep -rli 'tidy' '{}' ;
find . -iname '*.php' -exec grep -rli 'tidy' '{}' ; ./new_design/modules/index.mod.php

Opening the files, with vim to check about how tidy is invoked, revealed tidy calls like:

exec('/usr/bin/tidy -e -ashtml -utf8 '.$tmp_name,$rett);

As you see the PHP programmers who wrote this website, made a bigtidy mess. Instead of using php5's tidy module, they hard coded tidy external command to be invoked via php's exec(); external tidy command invocation.
This is extremely bad practice, since it spawns the command via a pseudo limited apache shell.
I've notified about the issue, but I don't know when, the external tidy calls will be rewritten.

Until the external tidy invocations are rewritten to use the php tidy module, I decided to at least remove the tidy warnings and errors output.

To remove the warning and error messages I've changed:

exec('/usr/bin/tidy -e -ashtml -utf8 '.$tmp_name,$rett);

exec('/usr/bin/tidy --show-warnings no --show-errors no -q -e -ashtml -utf8 '.$tmp_name,$rett);

The extra switches meaning is like so:

q – instructs tidy to produce quiet output
-e – show only errors and warnings
–show warnings no && –show errors no, completely disable warnings and error output

Onwards tidy no longer logs junk messages in error.log Not logging all this useless warnings and errors has positive effect on overall server performance especially, when the scripts, running /usr/bin/tidy are called as frequently as 1000 times per sec. or more

WP-Minify, Scripts Gzip and HeadJS Loader three scripts that might have positive impact on WordPress performance

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I’m trying to get the most of server + wordpress performance and these days I’m heavily playing with it as one can read from my past few articles 😉

Today I’ve come across three other plugins which in many cases could be beneficial and bring a good performance increase in wordpress, this are:

  • WP-Minify –
  • HeadJS Loader –
  • Scripts Gzip –

WP-Minify – does combine all JS and CSS script into one consolidated compressed script or style as well removes any duplicate script resources and hence could have positive impact on performance

HeadJS Loader – does strips out all your old javascript declarations and puts them into one head.js file so that they are loaded in parallel in the head of the pages and through that prevents the blocking of load up until all JS is a loaded so commonly seen these days on the net for more info on how HeadJS works check out

Script Gzip – merges and compresses the CSS and JS links on page, the plugin does not have caching functionality. The plugin doesn’t have much configuration options which I find as a good thing

To find out what works best for you its a best practice if the website speed load time is tested after loading each of the plugins and with all of them enabled and configured, finally for best results just leave only the plugins or a combination of them which gives the lowest page responce times.

Why does Orthodox Christian priests and monks wears long beards and why Roman Catholics does not

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A really Long bearded Orthodox Christian Priest

One might question why does Orthodox Christian priests wear beards? and why does the long beards of our Orthodox priests makes differences with the Roman Catholics?

Here are the few reasons:

1. Long beards wearing’s tradition among Orthodox Christian priests and monks comes after Christ

Christ himself had a beard as it was normal and considered proper for a man to wear long beard.

The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ had a long beard himself can clearly be observed on all our Orthodox Christian icons:
The Lord Jesus Christ Sinai monastery ancient icon Pantocrator from the 6th century

The Lord’s Pantecrator Icon (Pantocrator / Pantecrator ) from the 6th century

2. Long beards priest wearing comes as a natural tradition from the Old Testament’s times and the tradition of early Church

If one reads thoroughfully the old testament, he will find out that even from Moses and Aaron and onwards the tradition is the same.
All the Godly man and the priests had their long beards unshaved as a mark for their belongship and dedication to God.
To generalize the long beards wearing is according to ancient old testamential ancient tradition.
The long beards tradition as an ancient Jewish religion (Old testamental) tradition can still be clearly observed in Jewish rabbis (nowdays the jewish priests), who still wears their beards long, like for example you can see in the picture below:

Jewish Rabbi weiss picture
A modern day Jewish Rabbi notice the beard 🙂

The long beards tradition later was adopted by Muslims when Islam emerged as a religion and more specificly by the muslim priests the Hodjas:

Sait Muslim Hodja Picture

One very interesting historical source of information which proofs that the ancient Church’s priests had the tradition not to cut their beards is given by the historian Egezit who writes in his Chronicles that st. Apostle James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem, never cuts his hair.

A source of confirmation that the long hear and beards wearing was an established tradition that dates back to the old testament is found in the old testament in (Ezekiel 8:3)

Here is what exactly we read there:

He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head.
The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem,
to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood.

3. Long hair and beards wearing by the Monks

An interesting fact is why does the Monks and novice neophyte lay brothers also stick to the ancient tradition.
It appears long hair and beards wearing traces back to the holy life of the ascetics of the deserts (e.g. the hermits).

The reason why ascetics did not shaved their hairs or bears as a way to avoid vanity and therefore this old hermitage practice has also had a spiritual reason.

4. The Nazarite old testament tradition

In the old testament in Numbers 6:1-21, we read about the term nazarite which means consecrated / separated

Each boy or man who was to become a Nazarine has been devoted to God for a certain period of time or in some cases for his all life, one of the many conditions for one to be a nazarite is not to shave his beard or hair.
One can read about this in the old testament in Leviticus 21:5

Leviticus 21:5
"They shall not make baldness upon their head,
neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh."

There are some other prohibitions relating to Nazarite’s one of the most notable ones is found in Numbers 6:4:

All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine,
from the pressed grapes even to the grapestone.

One example for people who gaves vow to become temporary Nazarites is found in 1 Maccabees 3:49 (this book is only available in the Orthodox Holy Bible).
One of the most important figure in Christianity that used to be Nazarite is Samson, his life can be read in the old testament in Judges 13 – 16

As we read in Judges , Samson’s great God given power consituted in a prohibition to shave his hair and not to drink wine.

5. Reason why Roman Catholic Priests and monks abandoned the ancient tradition of wearing long hairs and beards

In the early Roman Empire it was a customfor a men to shave. The “enlightened” Romans believed that only the barbarians did not shaved themselves, and as you can imagine Jewish people and early Christians were of course considered to be barbarians, e.g. being unshaved was a sign for a cultural inferiorness in according to Romans comprehension.

The long hairs and beards tradition in the Western Church has started disappearing and consequentially completely lost with the Tyranny of Charlemagne at the end of the eight century.
With his massive ‘barbarian’ inferiority complex, it was his desire in all things to imitate pagan classical Rome.
It was therefore under him that Western clergy were ordered to shave regularly.
For example at the Council of Aachen (816), it was stipulated that priests and monks were to shave every two weeks.

By the beginning of the 11th century the tradition of wearing long beards was already completely torned apart and almost all the Roman Catholic clergy was regularly shaving.

In the sixteenth century beardlessness for Roman Catholic clergy was enforced by further canons,
which appear to have been dropped since the Second Vatican Council.

6. Why does protestants does not wear beards

As we all know protestant Church denominations has emerged as schismatics from Roman Catholic church and therefore mostly the influence they had was from Roman Catholics which already had the tradition within their clergy to regularly shave, thus pastors shaving was completely out of question and never come to an established reality among the Protestant Church pastors.

7. Is the Orthodox Christian layman obliged to wear beards

Absolutely not! The layman within the Orthodox Church can choose for themselves, if they want to wear their hair and beard and through that possess an image physically similar to Christ.
In my view it’s more righteous for us the layman to wear our hairs and beards as I personally believe long hair and beards demonstrates mans dignity and God’s dedication, but this is my own private opinion.
At many cases wearing beards or long hairs is an obstacle for a good integration in nowdays society, so if wearing a beard or hair as laymans does become an obstacle for our normal daily lifes then I believe cutting a long beard or hair is perfectly acceptable.
Moreover even the Orthodox Christian priests are not enforced to wear beards and in some cases where the priest’s wife is against the beardness the Orthodox priest is allowed to shave himself, though as a matter of fact having a completely shaved priests in our Orthodox Churches is rare and less common today.

In conclusion wearing of beard and long hair by Orthodox Christna clergy, has come from the desire to physically resemble Christ.
This physical resemblance is a symbol of the spiritual resemblance of Christ’s humility, which is the ultimate aim of our life.

How to enable output compression (gzipfile content compression) in nginx webserver

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I have recently installed and configured a Debian Linux server with nginx
. Since then I’ve been testing around different ways to optimize the nginx performance.

In my nginx quest, one of the most crucial settings which dramatically improved the end client performance was enabling the so called output compression which in Apache based servers is also known as content gzip compression .
In Apache webservers the content gzip compression is provided by a server module called mod_deflate .

The output compression nginx settings saves a lot of bandwidth and though it adds up a bit more load to the server, the plain text files like html, xml, js and css’s download time reduces drasticly as they’re streamed to the browser in gzip compressed format.
This little improvement in download speed also does impact the overall end user browser experience and therefore improves the browsing speed experience with websites.

If you have already had experience nginx you already know it is a bit fastidious and you have to be very careful with it’s configuration, however thanksfully enabling the gzip compression was actually rather easier than I thought.

Here is what I added in my nginx config to enable output compression:

## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

Important note here is that need to add this code in the nginx configuration block starting with:

http {
## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

In order to load the gzip output compression as a next step you need to restart the nginx server, either by it’s init script if you use one or by killing the old nginx server instances and starting up the nginx server binary again:
I personally use an init script, so restarting nginx for me is done via the cmd:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/nginx restart
Restarting nginx: nginx.

Now to test if the output gzip compression is enabled for nginx, you can simply use telnet

hipo@linux:~$ telnet 80
Escape character is '^]'.

After the Escape character is set ‘^]’ appears on your screen type in the blank space:


and press enter twice.
The output which should follow should look like:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The whole transaction with telnet command issued and the nginx webserver output should look like so:

hipo@linux:~$ telnet 80
Connected to
.Escape character is '^]'.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The important message in the returned output which confirms your nginx output compression is properly configured is:

Vary: Accept-Encoding

If this message is returned by your nginx server, this means your nginx now will distribute it’s content to it’s clients in compressed format and apart from the browsing boost a lot of server and client bandwitdth will be saved.