Hi, let me introduce myself. I am a convert to Orthodoxy, a woman of a "certain age". Read 55 years old.
I have studied the issue of the silent prayers. I even asked Fr. Hopko last year. What I have learned is that the practice began sometime in the sixth century I believe. Justinian actually forbade it. It seems to have begun at about the same time as the faithful stopped receiving frequent communioin.
From the words of the prayers, it is clear that when they were composed that they were intended to be said aloud. They are written as "we" not "me". (except for the priest's prayer for himself.) As we know, as a word, liturgy means a common work of the people. It is the whole people of God gathered in the same place that day who offer the prayers. That is why the people say "Amen" afterwards.
The folks at St. Tikhons beleive (at least one priest but he is a teacher) that the prayers should be said silently because of the "mystery" of the service.
While Fr. Alexander was a proponent of saying the prayers aloud, he wasn't the only one. Archbishop Paul of Finland was a very strong proponent of the practice. He explains why in his book, is it The Faith We Hold..it escapes me now.
Fr. Schmemann mentioned in his journal after having served at a very Russian parish one that he had forgotten what the "Russian" service was like. He said that alost everything that could reach the people was hidden from them. Or read silently.
Oh, one other thing. The repeated litinies...were introduced to "cover" some of the silent prayers.
I tend to agree with the above. The silent prayers are beautiful and really tell us why we are there. They explain what God has done for us. "Thou it was that brought us from non-existence into being...and when we had fallen away did not cease to do all things until thou had brought back to Thee and endowed us with Thy Kingdom which is to come." (from memory so forgive any mistakes.)
I believe reading the prayers aloud is really going back to the early intent. Correcting a change that was made, rather than as the beginning of the end for the Liturgy!
Also, as you know, the bishop of the Russian Church had prepared for a Great Council in 1917...not a good year. In this council they were going to, among other things, re-institute reading the prayers aloud. And Russia at that time had the best educated Orthodox theologians in the world. oops..no more room...in Christ, Elizabeth