so the question is, who in the Orthodox Church bore witness against a literal understanding of Genesis before the influence of evolution came around? Did anyone at all?
St. Augustine, St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Cyprian of Carthage....
In terms of modern day bishops we have at least Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Blessed memory, Archbishop Michael (Mudyugin) of Blessed memory, Bishop Nathanael (L'vov) of Blessed Memory, and Bishop Basil (Rodzyanko)...
Among theologians we have E.M. Andreiev, Protopresbyter Basil Zenkovski, Protopresbyter Nikolai Ivanov, Prof. N.N. Pheoletov, V.S. Solovyov, Protopresbyter Stephan Lyashevski, Prof. lazar Milin, Fr. Dumitru Staniloe....
you shoulda kept up with the thread. i already provided a quote from St. Clement of Alexandria that shows that he believed in literal days. St. Augustine said anyone who puts forth a timeline other than that given in Genesis is to be mocked, and Origen was anathematized for views that concerned Genesis.
“For as Adam was told that in the [d]ay [h]e ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, 'The day of the Lord is as a thousand years,' is connected with this subject.” - Justin Martyr
(Dialog with Typho the Jew chapter 81 [AD 155])
“As the first seven days in the divine arrangement containing seven thousand of years, as the seven spirits and seven angels which stand and go in and out before the face of God, and the seven-branched lamp in the tabernacle of witness, and the seven golden candlesticks in the Apocalypse, and the seven columns in Solomon upon which Wisdom built her house l so here also the number seven of the brethren, embracing, in the quantity of their number, the seven churches, as likewise in the first book of Kings we read that the barren hath borne seven” - St. Cyprian of Carthage
(Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250])
“That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated, and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: "This is the book of the generation: also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth." For the expression "when they were created" intimates an indefinite and dateless production.
But the expression "in the day that God made," that is, in and by which God made "all things," and "without which not even one thing was made," points out the activity exerted by the Son. As David says, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice in it; " that is, in consequence of the knowledge imparted by Him, let us celebrate the divine festival; for the Word that throws light on things hidden, and by whom each created thing came into life and being, is called day." - St. Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 6.16 [208 AD])
"St. Augustine said anyone who puts forth a timeline other than that given in Genesis is to be mocked"
You say this, yet St. Augustine himself believed that creation occurred instantenously.
“It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.” - St. Augustine