Posts Tagged ‘health’

Save data from failing hard disk on Linux – Rescuing data from failing disk with bad blocks

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

save-data-from-failing-hard-drive-data-recovery-badblocks-linux_1.jpg
Sooner or later your Linux Desktop or Linux server hard drive will start breaking up, whether you have a hardware or software RAID 1, 6 or 10 you can  and good hard disk health monitoring software you can react on time but sometimes as admins we have to take care of old servers which either have RAID 0 or missing RAID configuration and or disk firmware is unable to recognize failing blocks on time and remap them. Thus it is quite useful to have techniques to save data from failing hard disk drives with physical badblocks.

With ddrescue tool there is still hope for your Linux data though disk is full of unrecoverable I/O errors.

apt-cache show ddrescue
 

apt-cache show ddrescue|grep -i description -A 12

Description: copy data from one file or block device to another
 dd_rescue is a tool to help you to save data from crashed
 partition. Like dd, dd_rescue does copy data from one file or
 block device to another. But dd_rescue does not abort on errors
 on the input file (unless you specify a maximum error number).
 It uses two block sizes, a large (soft) block size and a small
 (hard) block size. In case of errors, the size falls back to the
 small one and is promoted again after a while without errors.
 If the copying process is interrupted by the user it is possible
 to continue at any position later. It also does not truncate
 the output file (unless asked to). It allows you to start from
 the end of a file and move backwards as well. dd_rescue does
 not provide character conversions.

 

To use ddrescue for saving data first thing is to shutdown the Linux host boot the system with a Rescue LiveCD like SystemRescueCD – (Linux system rescue disk), Knoppix (Most famous bootable LiveCD / LiveDVD), Ubuntu Rescue Remix or BackTrack LiveCD – (A security centered "hackers" distro which can be used also for forensics and data recovery), then mount the failing disk (I assume disk is still mountable :). Note that it is very important to mount the disk as read only, because any write operation on hard drive increases chance that it completely becomes unusable before saving your data!

To make backup of your whole hard disk data to secondary mounted disk into /mnt/second_disk

# mkdir /mnt/second_disk/rescue
# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/second_disk/rescue
# dd_rescue -d -r 10 /dev/sda1 /mnt/second_disk/rescue/backup.img

# mount -o loop /mnt/second_disk/rescue/backup.img

In above example change /dev/sda2 to whatever your hard drive device is named.

Whether you have already an identical secondary drive attached to the Linux host and you would like to copy whole failing Linux partition (/dev/sda) to the identical drive (/dev/sdb) issue:

ddrescue -d -f -r3 /dev/sda /dev/sdb /media/PNY_usb/rescue.logfile

If you got just a few unreadable files and you would like to recover only them then run ddrescue just on the damaged files:

ddrescue -d –R -r 100 /damaged/disk/some_dir/damaged_file /mnt/secondary_disk/some_dir/recoveredfile

-d instructs to use direct I/O
-R retrims the error area on each retry
-r 100 sets the retry limit to 100 (tries to read data 100 times before resign)

Of course this is not always working as on some HDDs recovery is impossible due to hard physical damages, if above command can't recover a file in 10 attempts it is very likely that it never succeeds …

A small note to make here is that there is another tool dd_rescue (make sure you don't confuse them) – which is also for recovery but GNU ddrescue performs better with recovery.
How ddrescue works is it keeps track of the bad sectors, and go back and try to do a slow read of that data in order to read them.
By the way BSD users would happy to know there is ddrescue port already, so data recovery on BSDs *NIX filesystems if you're a Windows user you can use ddrescue to recover data too via Cygwin.
Of course final data recovery is also very much into God's hands so before launching ddrescue, don't forget to say a prayer 🙂

Preventive measures against hard disk failures with smard / Installing smartmontools on Linux

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Many admins might not know about smartmontools Linux package. It provides two useful tools  smartctl and smard which use (Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology system) often abreviated as S.M.A.R.T.. SMART support is nowdays available across any modern ATA, SATA and SCSI hard disks. smartontools package is installable via default package repositories on virtually all different Linux distributions. Having smartmontools installed on all critical productive server is a must for the reason it serves as early notification system in case if hard disk is on the down-verge of break-up (i.e. physical media of hard disk storage starts getting damaged). Through the last 14 years I worked as Linux sysadmin. I've used smartmontools on hundreds of servers and on many times it save companies hundreds of dollars by simply reporting a system hdd is dying and by replacing the server or hard disk with identifically configured ones. smartmontools supports monitoring of single  hard disks as well as ones configured on a hardware level to work in some RAID array. As of time of writing you can check list of smartmontools supported hardware RAID-Controllers here.

1. Installing smartmontools

a) To install smartmontools on Debian and Ubuntu and other .deb based servers:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes smartmontools
.....

b) On CentOS, Fedora,RHEL and other RPM based  install with:

[root@centos ~]# yum --yes install smartmontools
.....

2. Configuring and Enabling smartd hard disk health monitoring

a) on Debian and derivatives

Edit /etc/default/smartmontools:

debian:~# vim /etc/default/smartmontools

By default file looks smth. like;

 

# Defaults for smartmontools initscript (/etc/init.d/smartmontools)
# This is a POSIX shell fragment

# List of devices you want to explicitly enable S.M.A.R.T. for
# Not needed (and not recommended) if the device is monitored by smartd
#enable_smart="/dev/hda /dev/hdb"
#enable_smart="/dev/hda"
# uncomment to start smartd on system startup
#start_smartd=yes

# uncomment to pass additional options to smartd on startup
#smartd_opts="–interval=1800"

Config file should look something like;

 

# Defaults for smartmontools initscript (/etc/init.d/smartmontools)
# This is a POSIX shell fragment

# List of devices you want to explicitly enable S.M.A.R.T. for
# Not needed (and not recommended) if the device is monitored by smartd
#enable_smart="/dev/hda /dev/hdb"
enable_smart="/dev/sda"
# uncomment to start smartd on system startup
start_smartd=yes

# uncomment to pass additional options to smartd on startup
#smartd_opts="–interval=1800"

 

b) on CentOS, RHEL, Fedora  for smartd options

By default on RPM based distros there is no need for special configuration. However for some custom cases edit /etc/sysconfig/smartmontools and /etc/smartd.conf

c) Enabling smartmontools

[root@centos default]# /etc/init.d/smartd start
Starting smartd:           [  OK  ]

3. Checking hard disk failure status with smartctl

Checking whether a SMART hard disk consistency check Passes is done simplest with:

debian:~# /usr/sbin/smartctl -H /dev/sda

smartctl 5.40 2010-07-12 r3124 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

SMART Health Status: OK

 

 

debian:~# /usr/sbin/smartctl -i /dev/sda1

smartctl version 5.38 [i686-redhat-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and 7200.7 Plus family
Device Model:     ST340014AS
Serial Number:    4MQ0LV3B
Firmware Version: 3.43
User Capacity:    40,020,664,320 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   6
ATA Standard is:  ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
Local Time is:    Fri Mar 15 15:27:12 2013 EET
SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

To print as much information as possible for hard disk health status;

 

[root@centos default]# /usr/sbin/smartctl -a /dev/sda1

smartctl version 5.38 [i686-redhat-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and 7200.7 Plus family
Device Model:     ST340014AS
Serial Number:    4MQ0LV3B
Firmware Version: 3.43
User Capacity:    40,020,664,320 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   6
ATA Standard is:  ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
Local Time is:    Fri Mar 15 15:14:53 2013 EET
SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82)    Offline data collection activity
                    was completed without error.
                    Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)    The previous self-test routine completed
                    without error or no self-test has ever
                    been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:          ( 423) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:              (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                    Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                    Suspend Offline collection upon new
                    command.
                    Offline surface scan supported.
                    Self-test supported.
                    No Conveyance Self-test supported.
                    Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)    Saves SMART data before entering
                    power-saving mode.
                    Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)    Error logging supported.
                    General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:      (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:      (  19) minutes.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   052   045   006    Pre-fail  Always       –       172137473
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0002   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       –       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0033   096   096   020    Pre-fail  Always       –       4198
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       –       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   090   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       –       945095084
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   075   075   000    Old_age   Always       –       22769
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       –       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0033   099   099   020    Pre-fail  Always       –       1084
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   038   046   000    Old_age   Always       –       38 (0 15 0 0)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   052   045   000    Old_age   Always       –       172137473
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       –       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      –       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       –       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      –       0
202 TA_Increase_Count       0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       –       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 33 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
    CR = Command Register [HEX]
    FR = Features Register [HEX]
    SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
    SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
    CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
    CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
    DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
    DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
    ER = Error register [HEX]
    ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 33 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 21588 hours (899 days + 12 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  — — — — — — —
  40 51 00 77 c3 6a e0  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x006ac377 = 6996855

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  — — — — — — — —  —————-  ——————–
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:39.385  READ DMA
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.553  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.550  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.547  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:35.543  READ DMA

Error 32 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 21588 hours (899 days + 12 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  — — — — — — —
  40 51 00 77 c3 6a e0  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x006ac377 = 6996855

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  — — — — — — — —  —————-  ——————–
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:23.940  READ DMA
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.553  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.550  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:35.547  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:35.543  READ DMA

Error 31 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 21588 hours (899 days + 12 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  — — — — — — —
  40 51 00 77 c3 6a e0  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x006ac377 = 6996855

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  — — — — — — — —  —————-  ——————–
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:23.940  READ DMA
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:23.937  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.071  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.057  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:20.044  READ DMA

Error 30 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 21588 hours (899 days + 12 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  — — — — — — —
  40 51 00 77 c3 6a e0  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x006ac377 = 6996855

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  — — — — — — — —  —————-  ——————–
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:23.940  READ DMA
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:23.937  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.071  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.057  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:20.044  READ DMA

Error 29 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 21588 hours (899 days + 12 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  — — — — — — —
  40 51 00 77 c3 6a e0  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x006ac377 = 6996855

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  — — — — — — — —  —————-  ——————–
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:23.940  READ DMA
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:23.937  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.071  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      14:07:20.057  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  c8 00 08 77 c3 6a e0 00      14:07:20.044  READ DMA

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%         1         –

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

4. Visualizing smartd collected data in GUI with gsmartcontrol

For people who prefer to visualize things in Graphical environment smartd service hard disk health data can be viewed in nice graphical interface wth gsmartcontrol tool. Most Linux servers don't have graphical environment as having a X server with any graphics manager is a waste of system resources thus installing gsmartcontrol doesn't make much sense, however for monitoring and reporting for upcoming Hard Disk issues gsmartcontrol is a good one to have.

a) To install gsmartcontrol on Debian and Ubuntu Linux;

debian:~# apt-get install --yes gsmartcontrol
....

 

b) Installing gsmartcontrol on CentOS, Fedora, RHEL and SuSE;

gsmartcontrol has a binary package builds for all major Linux distributions, except Slackware Linux. For any of RPM based Linux distros. Go and download required smartmontools distro version and type binary from here then install the RPMs one by one with the usual:

[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh glimm*
....
[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh libglademm*
....
[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh libsigc*
....
[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh cairomm*
....
[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh gsmartcontrol*
....

Below, are 2 screenshots of GSmartControl taken from my

gsmartmontools Debian stable Linux screenshot monitor hard disk health in graphical environment

Lenovo gsmartcontrol Thinkpad Device information /dev/sda ST9160824AS screenshot 
If you get something different from Overall health self-assessment test PASSED, this means hard disk has a surface damage and needs to be replaced ASAP. If during hard disk normal operation HDD hits I/O errors and you can't afford to have a GUI environment just for gsmartcontrol, errors gets logged in dmesg hence dmesg could be useful to provide you with info of a failing hard drive.

Happy Christ’s Birth! Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Christ's Birth Orthodox icon, Merry Christmas

Christ has born! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all my readers!

The meaning of Merry Christmas comes from Christ Mass , the word has changed to (Christmas) through the years.
The origins of the word comes from the western world and especially has a tight relatin with Latin language and the Roman Catholic Church.

In Eastern Orthodox Churches, we say Chestit Rojdestvo Hristovo , which translated to English is Happy Christ's Birth by this tring to put more accent on the real significance of the feast, which is Christ's birth.
It's a pity nowdays many people forgot the real meaning of Merry Christmas but just celebrate without really realizing the deep spiritual meaning this two beautiful words contain.
Our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will mark the Christ's birth with a Holy Liturgy early in Sunday's morning tomorrow 25th of December.

With these bright feast I wish to all my blog readers;
A lot of Best of Health, Good Fortune, Loving Kindness, Hope, Faith, Love and Personal and Professional Success!
May God bring in our hearts the Angels joy which saluted our Saviour Jesus Christ's birth 2011 years ago.

Have a great Christmas!
 

Abe’s Amazing Adventure, A Dangerous Dave 2 like GNU Linux / FreeBSD Arcade Game substitute

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Abe's Amazing Adventure Game menu screenshot, A Dangerous Dave like Linux arcade game
While looking over the installable packages in System -> Administration -> Software Center on my my Debian powered notebook, I’ve accidently rolled over a game called Abe’s Amazing Adventure , as a big oldschool arcade game fan, I’ve immediately clicked on Install being impatient to see the overall game atmosphere and gameplay as well as storyline.

Abe’s Amazing Adventure is available under the debian package name abe and can be installed by issuing:

debian:~# apt-get install abe I was pleasently surprised to find out the gameplay and the overall game feels like the golden classical arcade game Dangerous Dave

For youngsters who never played the amazing absolute killing arcade ! as well as for people who feel nostalgic about Dangerous Dave 2 here is a nice gameplay screenshot:

Dangerous Dave 2 screenshot

Here is also a screenshot of Abe’s Amazing Adventure gameplay:

Abes Amazing Adventure Dangerous Dave like Linux / BSD Arcade Game like screenshot

You can see the great resemblense between the two games even by the screenshot; In both games you have to collect keys to open doors and diamonds which gives you points. Of course there are some differences as you can see Abe’s Amazing Adventure ‘s graphics has some additional items like Baloons with which your main character can fly over distances (for a limited time). There is also more diversity in the enemy types you face on the road to unlock the different doors. The game has also a red stars which while taken saves the game so if you quit the game on next game load up starting the game automatically starts you from the last save point.

Abes Amazing Adventure Star gameplay Screenshot on Debian

The ( 6 ) baloons seen in the screenshot on the left upper corner can be used occasionally to fly some distance by pressing Enter .
There are health recovery kits one can take to recover, some health damaged by hitting obstacles on the way.
The game story is short but entertaining, just like the general game feel:

Abes amazing adventure game storyThe game music is relaxing and more or less in the spirit of arcade games, the keyboard interactivety is pretty good as well.One thing I see can be improved to make the game better are the graphics, they’re a bit childish and too cubical, where sometimes some more general characters and obstacles animation will give the game a better look. Anyways for the year 2003 and for a free software arcade the game is not bad. For children and growing kids the game is just perfect, even for big kids like me its good to spend an hour of jump and run fun 😉

Monitor General Server / Desktop system health in console on Linux and FreeBSD

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

slurm-output-monitoring-networking
saidar
is a text based ncurses program to display live statistics about general system health.

It displays in one refreshable screen (similar to top) statistics about server state of:
CPU, Load, Memory, Swap, Network, I/O disk operations
Besides that saidar supports a ncurses console colors, which makes it more funny to look at.
Saidar extracts the statistics for system state based on libgstrap cross platform statistics library about pc system health.

On Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS Linuxes saider is available for install straight from distribution repositories.
On Debian and Ubuntu saidar is installed with cmd:

debian:~# apt-get install saidar
...

On CentOS and Fedora saidar is bundled as a part of statgrab-tools rpm package.
Installing it on 64 bit CentOS with yum is with command:

[root@centos ~]# yum install statgrab-tools.x86_64

Saidar is also available on FreeBSD as a part of the /usr/ports/devel/libgstrab, hence to use on my FreeBSD I had to install the libgstrab port:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/devel/libstatgrab
freebsd# make install clean

Here is saidar running on my Desktop Debian on Thinkpad in color output:

debian:~# saidar -c

Saidar Linux General statistics Screenshot

I've seen many people, who use various shell scripts to output system monitoring information, this scripts however are often written to just run without efficiency in mind and they put some let's say 1% extra load on the system CPU. This is not the case with saidar which is written in C and hence the program is optimized well for what it does.

Update: Next to saidar I recommend you check out Slurm (Real Time Network Interface Monitor) it can visualizes network interface traffic using ascii graph such as on top of the article. On Debian and Ubuntu Slurm is available and easily installable via simple:
 

apt-get install –yes slurm

 

Exaltation of the Holy Cross day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Veneration of the Holy cross church feast

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Christ Cross icon, day in the Bulgarian Orthodox ChurchThe Universal Exaltation of the precious and life-giving Cross XVII century – icon from village of Belovo Trqvna region

he Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (Elevation of the Cross)’s day is feted on 14th of September each year in accordance to the new calendar order, according to old church calendar, the Church celebrated it on 27th of September.

The day is marked by a strong fasting, for short we refer in Bulgarian to this big Church feast as (The day of the Cross / Krystov den).
The Holy Orthodox Christian Church does worship the cross 4 times a year on:

  • Third Sunday after the start of the Great Lent
  • Holy Friday (Good Friday)
  • 1st of August
  • and

  • 14th of September – The Exaltation of the Holy life giving Cross

On this day, we the orthodox christians go to the Church and admirationally bow and kiss the Holy Cross on which our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered for our salvation.Through his cross suffering our Lord has granted to all of us the Christians an unbeatable “weapon” against evil and sin.
Through cross Christ has been victorious over sin and death.

According to old Church tradition, on the day Christian people were asking for the priest to go to their homes and do vodosvet (sprinkle their houses with a blessed holy water).Vodosvet is one of the Orthodox Church mystics, there is a specific prayers begging God for forgiveness of sins, asking for good health and blessing. The prayers are being red over a vessel containing clean water. Finally he blesses the vessel with Water with the life Giving cross 3 times (as a symbol of the Holy Trinity). Then the priest uses a the cross and a tiny piece of twig to sprinkle all the people and objects in the house.

On the holy exaltation of the holy cross feast we also celebrate also the following 3 events:

1. The miraculous appearance of the Holy Cross to emper st. Constantine
2. The finding in Jerusalem of the Holy life-giving cross in Golgotha
3. The return of the Life-giving cross from persian captivity
On 14th of September, according to Church tradition saint John of John Chrysostom has give away his spirit and joined the assembly of saints of God, however because of the Exaltation great significance, the church holy fathers decided that this is celebrated on 13th of September.

The Antiphon for the Exaltation of the Cross feast is singed and translated from Slavonic its meaning goes like this:

Troparion voice 1

Save Oh Lord, your people and bless possession, grant us oh Lord a victory over our enemies and save your inheritance with your Cross

Troparion voice 2

You've been lifted willingly on the cross, grant you mercies to your inheritance oh Christ our Lord,
stregthen the spirits of the pious king and to your people,
grant us victory against our enemies,
Surround us with peace and with peace give us unbeatable victory

In the Glorification part of the Holy Liturgy feast service its singed:

We magnify you, oh Christ life giver,
and your Holy cross, because you have saved us from the enemy.

What does the Church tradition says about the finding of the holy cross of Christs sufferings?

After the Church crucifixion of Christ, according to the tradition of that times, the weapon for punishment from this kinds – the cross tree was buried in the ground on the same place, where the punishment was executed.
Following the tradition on Gologthas where Christ was crucified was buried the cross used for crucifixion.
In later times, emperor Adrian in his attempt to destroy christianity and the place of pilgrimage of Golgotha has issued an order to built a pagan shrine on the same place.
Later under the reign of Emperor st. Constantine the cross appeared in the sky in a miraculous way and again under his reign the Golgotha place which means literally translated( the place of the Skulls) was discovered.
Let witht he Holy miracle making power of our Saviour’s cross by the prayers of all the Saints and our Theotokos (Holy Virgin Merry) God grant to all of us christians victory of our enemies! Amen

Great and Holy Friday / Friday of the Crucifix (Remembrance of the holy saving sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Friday of the Crucifix of the Lord Christ

Today is the great and sad day for us Christians in which the Lord has been crucified.

It’s a day of a great spiritual sorrow for all the Orthodox Christian.
It’s also the day in which we do venerate the holy shroud (plashtenica) in which the Lord’s body has been wrapped, after it was removed from the life giving cross.

The priest takes the plashtenica and walks through the temple and afterwards we do venerate the holy plashtenica (The dead body of the saviour).

There is a local Orthodox Church tradition which I believe is very specific to the bulgarian orthodox Church.
The plashtenica is placed on a table, the holy gospel and the holy cross are placed by the priest over the plashtenica (the shroud), after which grouped in a line (first the children, then the man, followed by the woman) we the layman do kiss the holy gospel, the cross and the plashtenica showing evidently our love for Christ and his gospel and our respect for the Lord’s Great Cross sufferings. Further on the layman does crawl (under the table with the plashtenica).

child crawling under a table with plashtenica

plashtenica with the immaculate body of Christ

The crawling under the plashtenica in Bulgarian Orthodox Church is a very known tradition by bulgarian people.

The crawling under the table symbolically shows that we take participation in the Lord’s death.
As it’s written that we all who are in Christ are being death for the world after the Holy Baptism.

There are probably other reasons for which the Church has established the passing under of the holy plashtenica which I’m not aware of.

What is sad is that most people does not really understand the real symbolism behind the crossing below the plashtenica (crossing below the table).

Thus many people who know the feast of Great Friday do come to the church to cross below the plashtenica as an act of superstition, as they don’t really understand why they do it.
They simply interpret that crossing below the plashtenica would grant them “good health”, “a life success” or good fortune.

Many of those people who come to crawl under the table, are not a regular on other Church services (Holy Liturgies) and therefore completely miss even the basics of our Christian beliefs.

Many of those people who are not adept in faith, do come to the Church with the only goal “to crawl below the table” and leave the Church immediately after that …

It’s truly sad to see that especially when I know that we Bulgarians are Orthodox Christian nation.
An Orthodox Christian nation who is starting to forget Christianity …

Just to give you an idea on how people have left astray from Orthodox Christian faith I can tell you for sure that the regular Church goers who attend Holy Liturgies and have intermediate knowledge of Orthodox Christianity and Church order in Bulgaria are not more than 4% of all the Bulgarian population.

This means that probably no more than approximately 300 000 of Bulgarians are in a communion with our Bulgarian Orthodox Church and do regularly confess and take the sacraments.

Here is an Orthodox Singing of the core troparion for the day (in Greek):

A few words on Pseudo Christian Spirituality. A false “Spiritual” Movies and Books which we as Christians should Fully Avoid

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Heresies and How to Avoid them

We live in the age of the boom of sects, false prophets and false “messiahs”. Today it’s common that the bookstores are filled in with all kind of occult literature and magic teaching literature, agnostic books, horoscopes and all kind of empty modern day philosophy books which teaches evil, the so called “Get rich for a day”, “The secrets of success”, “How to take advantage over the others”, “How to be succesful”, “NLP for your success”, “How to enter into business”, “How to become rich quickly” etc. are e very short list of all the non-sense literature one can meet on the books market.

Along with the books we are being offered all kind of movies and philosophies “teaching us” about the life meanings, trying to explain the meaning of life and the universe and the meaning of each self as a human being.

From Christian perspective, most of this movies and books which plead to contain “a deeper life meaning” are empty of any real pure spiritual contents but are simply a mixture of various religious beliefs belonging to different group of worldy faiths and mostly targets to make the authors of the story or screen play rich.

This movies are not being inspired by God – The All Holy Trinity and they reject Christ as a founding stone on which to stand over, it’s clear that they contain an anti-christian content and every truly devoted Christian should try to abstain from watching them.

To name just a few of asuch a movies which are ecumenical (preach for unification of world religions) and from Orthodox Christian perspective are anti-christian in essence:

  • What the Bleep Do we Know – Down The Rabbit Hole
  • The Great Secret of Water
  • The Secret
  • The Fountain

We as Christians should try not watch this movie or praise them as something which confirms our faith, as they don’t confirm our faith in Christ but they try to spread up a “sick spirituality” and insane ideas.
This is just a small list of movies I have encountered which has influenced my spiritual health in a really negative way, therefore I hope if you’re a Christian you will take my warning and CHOOSE NOT TO WATCH THESE MOVIES!.
The reason for choosing not to watch this movies would be purely to prevent yourself from experiencing a spiritual (soul) damages by exposing yourself to the heretical teachings and ideas of the aforementioned ones.

Also try to get astray from all the genres of boks which I have mentioned above which try to teach you how to become sucessful in life, I have personally read a book I’m not sure about the exact name but it was similar to:

  • “The subsconscious could do everything / (Psyche can achieve everything) / The power of Mind etc.”

The book teaches the false idea that with our subconscrious mind we built our own current realities and promotes “positive thinking” as a way to attract wealth, personal success and happiness to yourself.

You can see yourself that this is insane not only from a Christian perspective but even for any rational person.

The idea of this false teachings is to convince you that man is undeveloped god and that we are masters of our own reality.

Therefore it is in direct contrast with even basic Christian beliefs, we Christians do belief that our reality and existence is completely in God’s hands and nothing could happen without God to allow it to happen.
Therefore from a Christian perspective if you, “during the whole day think about how you will get rich and how you will have millions in a bank account” as many of the up-mentioned devilish movies and books teaches, nothing will happen if God does not allow it.

We’re clearly said and taught from the Holy Bible and the Livings of the saints that all our life and daily goods we attain through our life are given by mercy, the saints has taught us that our lives and all we’re and possess are from God for God and through God! To whom be glory now and forever and ever! Amen.

Watch out for this heretical false doctrines which might separate you from Christ and our mother the Orthodox Church. The appearance of all this kind heretical literature and movies is in accordance to the prophecies by our Lord Jesus Christ who said that in the last days there will be many wolves in sheeps clothes, who will deceive and be deceived.

Let we as an Orthodox Christians be careful about what kind of books we read and keep our selves away from these and the similar kind of poisonous teachings.

Let we be fully delivered by God’s grace from being exposed to this kind of faith tempting books by the Holy Prayers of The Theotokos and all the Saints. Amen

Management Games and Theathre Sports with Joop Vinke

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Yesterday and today we had Management Games and Theathre Games with Joop Vinke.At the management game we play a sort of Human Resources Management game. All the students are devided into groups and we play a simulator game. We had to manage a company. First we setup our 2 year goals and then we play the game on quarters (6 quarters). Every quarter we have to made some managerial decisions (invest money into different stuff, hire personnel, promote ppl etc.).

Basicly the company consists of 660 employees, there are 5 levels in the company starting from 1 where there is unqualified specialists and 5 which are the top management.

When we make our choices then all this data is inputed into a computer which gives us some feedback which helps us in taking the decisions for the next quarter. At the meantime Vinke organizes fun games to entertain us and make us feel comfortable with him and through this games he tries to show us basic concepts in business. The last two days I really enjoyed.

Today the game that impressed me the most was called

“The Werewolves from Wackedan”. Basicly it’s a strategic game with roles. In it you’ve got a bunch of ppl who play different roles, 3 of them are werewolves, others are citizens others are ppl who have special abilities to foresee who are the werewolves.

We had cards in front of us turned back to prevent others except us to see the cards. Some of the cards are citizens and ppl who belong to the citizens other 3 are werewolves.

Every night the werewolf kills a person (by selecting somebody from the crowd, when they sleep), because the werewolves are out at night when everybody sleeps. At the morning citizens awake and one of their friends is dead so they try to revenge by pointing someone to be killed (it may be a citizen again it may be a werewolf).

At the end only werewolves or citizens should servive 🙂 It was a big fun today to play this simple game. At the end of the day at 18:00 we had a session of the so called Theathre/Games. Theathre Games include different entertaining games which are designed to improve our communication skills and teach us to act like an actors plus they are pretty entertaining 🙂 That’s all thanks to God everything seems to run smoothly around my life. Except my health I’m still having some health issues although I can say I have an improvement I am not still healed and I still drink herbs.

At 20:00 I was out with Narf and we went to the fountain a little later Kimmo and Yavor joined us and we spend some time their. Well that’s most of the day at night I went to my grandma just to see how she is doing and now I write this post tomorrow the Management Game continues at 09:00. So probably after few minutes I’ll go for the night prayers and then I’ll go to sleep. END—–

One more day passed

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

One more day passed. I have pains and I scream to God for guidance and help. I’m not sure where am going to as usual. Today we had to have German. I wentto the college only to find out that the German lesson is removed from the schedule. A friend of mine who is in germany Shaltev has sent me a Video of his band.The band is called viamala, here is there website http://viamala.org. I really liked there music btw. Tomorrow I have Dutch. The day was a sort of quite for me thanks and Praise be to the Lord creator. By the way my health is not well. I have pains in different organs sometimes. You know life is hard. I’m loving more and more the FreeBSD :). I watched Ice Age and currently I’m watching Ice Age 2. Great anime (I’m having fun with it. I often think of becoming a monk. Life is such a vanity.END—–