The Gospels take center stage on Holy or Great Tuesday in the Orthodox church, as Greeks move a day closer to Easter.
First off, the Gospel of Matthew regarding Christ’s condemnation of the Pharisees is read during Tuesday’s Matins service.
Next the Parable of the Ten Virgins — one of the most well-known — is read. This story has a clear eschatological meaning — to be prepared for the Day of Judgment. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the five virgins who are prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival are rewarded, while the five who are not prepared are disowned.
The bridal chamber is used as a symbol not only of the Tomb of Christ, but also of the blessed state of the saved on the Day of Judgement.
Then, the Parable of the Talents is read, which has been seen as an exhortation to Greek Orthodox people to use their God-given gifts in the service of the Almighty.
The Parable of the Talents, according to the Gospel of Matthew, tells the story of a master who entrusts his property to his three servants and in accordance to the abilities of each man, each servant received a talent.
One of the three servants received five talents, the second servant received two talents, and the third servant received one talent.
The servants were sent out to make use of their talents and when they returned home the master asked his three servants for an accounting of the talents he entrusted to them.
The first and the second servants explained that they each put their talents to work and doubled the value of the property with which they were entrusted and each servant was rewarded by the master.
However, the third servant had not utilized his gift and merely hid his talent, so he was punished by his master.