The Gospels take center stage on Holy and Great Tuesday in the Orthodox church, as Greeks move one day closer to the end of Lent and the great feast of Easter.
Firstly, the Gospel of Matthew regarding Christ’s condemnation of the Pharisees is read during Tuesday’s Matins, or Orthros, service.
Next comes the Parable of the Ten Virgins — one of the most well-known of all Jesus’ parables. This story has a clear eschatological meaning, in that we must 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 for the Tomb of Christ, but also of the blessed state of the saved that they will experience on the Day of Judgement.
Lastly, the Parable of the Talents is read, which has been seen as an exhortation to Christians 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 talent coins.
One of the three servants received five talents, the second servant received two talents, and the third servant received just one talent.
The servants were sent out to make use of whatever their talents they had received. When they returned home, the master asked his three servants for an accounting of the talents he had entrusted to them.
The first and second servants explained that they each put their talents to work and doubled the value of the property with which they had been entrusted and each servant was duly 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. This is seen as a cautionary tale for all the faithful, as we are called on to make use of whatever gifts we have been given, to the greatest extent that we can.