I have personally witnessed in my visit to that monastery at the Divine Liturgy and Office commemorations of only Hilarion of ROCOR, perhaps the Patriarch of Moscow? (fuzzy memory here) and no one else out of the ordinary.
I am surprised by the whole turn of events in the last week.
I have little to say about this matter, except that I think these nuns are genuinely holy people and am sorry that there is some sins and politics embarrassing everyone. I think the size of the facility for the monastery was large and the expense involved in it may have been an added challenge. (Starting with smaller sized monastery /buildings would have been easier ?)
I would also say that there is some truth to the concept of a culture clash occuring. As all (or many of them?) when they were in the Church in Greece with it's accompanying culture of Orthodoxy as the predominant faith made it easier to live out the faith .
In the USA there is without question more challenge to opening a monastery in a traditionally protestant land that has more hostility toward orthodox christianity, not to mention the oddball jurisdictional overlapping, with visitors to monasteries typically coming from many different ones. (Though Maryland was historically the only state of the US founded with roman/latin catholic colonists actually, which was an improvement for sure.) Some of this has had some influence, but this is perhaps to be expected ?
Even with cultural adjustment in non-orthodox countries, that shouldnt be a barrier at all to their success in the USA.
Living in a historically Orthodox country is a luxury and great joy, but not a right, nor prerequisite to being a holy member of the Church.
Whatever happens, their monastery will always stand in my mind as a very very positive experience in visiting.
The sisters and even volunteer lay faithful touched my heart deeply. All I could see at the time was a model situation where the faith was being lived out in the way that showed to all of the USA people a fine role model and reason to love the Orthodox Church. I pray with all my heart that all conflicts will be resolved and that it may continue to function in good canonical standing.
Your post is quite refreshing in that it perceives everything in a more loving, positive and Christian way, but then again you are 'Rocor'. Abbess Ameliani was born a Lutheran and came from Oklahoma. She converted to the Orthodox Church while attending Harvard, and soon afterwards attended a music festival at the Hyatt Hotel in Oklahoma City when the bridge collapsed on top of her and many others as well.
It was impossible for anyone to pull her out, considering the position she was in, until someone appeared who she assumed was her guardian angel. He grabbed her arm and miraculously slid her out. He held her and kept telling her how much he loved her, and then disappeared. Later on she saw a picture of the Elder Amilianos and realized it was him and that he had bi located. The Elder Amilianos was the spiritual father of her own spiritual father, the Elder Dionysius.
Her recovery was miraculous and she has been in excessive pain and in and out of hospitals since then. She has managed even with this pain to help build and restore quite a few monasteries in Greece, and came back with the hope of building one here. She does know many people, and one of her nephews is the youngest person to become a member of the Musical Hall of Fame, so I'm sure it didn't take too long to get the money to cover the expenses of the monastery.
The problem here is not the Protestants, since many are converting to the Orthodox faith, but the different jurisdictions within the Orthodox Church. Many of these people are unfortunately only concerned with the political aspects of the Church rather than the spiritual, so they are 'deceived' very easily. From what I read today, Abbess Amiliani is being attacked because she defended an innocent person who was being used as a scapegoat.
In Greece the Church is different. Many Greeks in contrast to the Orthodox here are atheists, but the ones who are in church are truly devout. There have been at least four great saints in the past thirty years, and many more lesser ones throughout Greece, so that one can almost sense they are standing on holy ground.
Anyway I'm going on and on, but that's because I enjoyed your post.