At no time during an Orthodox vespers service does the priest address the congregation standing on the ambon behind a lectern. This could only have occurred before or after the vespers service itself, and not during it.
On the contrary, it is never okay for a member of the laity or heterodox to stand on the Ambo at any time. That is reserved for Orthodox Christian deacons, priests, and hierarchs only.
Again, you've missed the point.
Did she? I think the people trying to argue that this wasn't a liturgical service or that the speech from the ambon didn't happen in the context of a service are missing the point.
The ambon doesn't suddenly become a non-liturgical space when there's no service going on. It is the place from which the Gospel is read and preached and is one with the altar (in that particular church, the architecture makes that clear enough), and so those who are allowed to speak from it in an Orthodox church are limited to the major clergy of the Orthodox Church. Everyone else can and does speak from the floor.
The photo appears to confirm this practice for various Protestant ministers who are depicted standing on the floor and slightly to one side, so it makes the RC archbishop stand out as a notable exception. And I doubt these people are picking where they wish to speak when they're clearly guests in someone else's house.
It would be much better, IMO, to simply admit one of these possibilities than to keep trying to add more smoke and mirrors:
a) these things can get silly and some stupid stuff might be done, but it's unintentional and doesn't represent a watering down or muddying of the faith;
b) there's nothing important about an ambon in the Orthodox Church, so it's not a restricted area, and anyone can go up to it and speak from it without issue as long as it's not disruptive during public services;
c) the ambon is restricted to major clerics of the Orthodox Church, but an exception was made for a RC archbishop because his orders are considered valid in a way the Protestants' orders aren't.