I am going to respond to some of the questions you gave to Cleveland as well as to me. I'm sure Cleveland will add to my posts though (hopefully..lol).
From your conversation with me (the latest):
I look forward to reading the PM.
I just wrote it. hopefully it can fill in the blanks.
Playing Devil's Advocate ... ... ... Monasticism could have been seen as a path to Orthodox Unity ... ... ...
Sure. And it could have been just one monk, obeying his elder. Here is why I think that your thesis is wrong. If it WERE seen as a path to orthodox unity, then EVERY metropolis in the GOA would have an Ephraim monastery. As it stands now 3 Metropolis' do NOT have an Ephraim monastery. SO are those 3 going to NOT be part of this unity? Riddle me this my friend...lol.
Where's ozgeorge to set up a betting book - I'll bet $1 that Astoria and Chicagoland will be English in 20 Years unless they build Chapels in Greek Nightclubs.
I'll see your bet and raise you $10 that you still won't see a single word of english in the liturgy until 2050
I would ask some tough questions and I would speak in English even though my Greek is impeccable. I will probably do the same exact thing you did except I don't know when. I keep praying and I'm told to stay put.
In most of the monasteries the monks speak very good english. In fact, in all of the Ephraim monasteries I have been to (3 of them), at least half of the brotherhood/sisterhood is American.
I certainly DO hope you go and ask them these questions. I went into the monastery with a HUGE chip on my shoulder and I left being spiritual edified and with a whole new outlook.
Honestly, I didn't know of these restrictions. If I were representing Athos, I would want the same rules here as for Athos for the sake of consistency (e.g. no women allowed) because I represent Athos....
The consistency is seen in their lives. they way they live, pray, approach prayer, services, they typikon, etc. All of that is Athonite. The rule on Mt. Athos about women is from the Panagia, not from the monks. IN fact, there is a story (well documented) about a Serbian wife of a sultan in the 15th or 16th c. (I forget the time frame right now), who donated the Gifts of the Magi (which the sultan had in his possession), to the monastery of St. Paul on Mt. Athos.
When she arrived on the Peninsula and landed on the beach. She got out and began to walk up the mountain to deliver the gifts, which she was bringing to them. She didn't even get a few steps on the peninsula, when the Panagia appeared to her and said "this is my area, I am the only woman allowed here, leave your gifts where you stand and return to your boat" (or something to that effect) and the sultan's wife had to return to the boat.
Beyond that though we have documented that the Panagia appeared to St. Athanasios in the 10th c. and told him that this area would be for monks, and only male monks, and she would be the only woman there. SO, when women ask why they cannot go to Mt. Athos, I have heard some of the monks say "take it up with the Panagia" and I would say they have a good point.
The Panagia did not say that they should do that in EVERY place, just that place. it is specific to that area. their PRAYER life and their MONASTIC life can be taken anywhere. but that specific rule is for a specific place, why would they take that everywhere in the world?