3) I agree that a monastery is different than a parish. But monasteries too have some degree of responsibility in the matter of language. How can I say this without sounding offensive? I think there are a few considerations. In this point I am, for all pratical purposes, speaking of the Elder Ephrem monasteries in America.
The great proliferation of Greek-speaking monasteries in America is of little benefit to the aspiring monastic who does not speak Greek. He (or she) cannot join one of these monasteries unless he is willing to learn a foreign language. This effectively limits the pool of future monastics in such monasteries to those people who know Greek. This is fine, but it does send the message that, "We want Greeks." Am I making a judgmental jump to this conclusion? Yes, probably so. But I don't think it's a terribly unreasonable jump: do any non-Greek speakers join monasteries which use only Greek in the services? Or, to put it another way, is it reasonable to expect an American English-speaker to join a monastery in which he cannot worship in his own language? (This was one of my concerns when I was younger: If I were to become a monastic, where would I go? The choices of English-speaking monasteries with, say, half a dozen or more monks are very few.)
First, you are not a monk as you mention. Second, you speak like the only monasteries here are those of Geronda Ephraim and there is no other possibility to start new monasteries which speak only English. As we know there are monasteries which use only English here.
There is also the issue of visitors who do not understand the language. I said more than once that these monasteries, with their facilities and so forth, make themselves particularly open to visitors. When these visitors inevitably arrive, they will not (unless they know Greek) understand the services. This is fine, I suppose -- if I visit the house of a foreigner, that person is well within their rights to speak their own language. But I would think that hospitality would prevail and at least some English would be used.
You know... we have always the opportunity to be larger.
I have read that Fr. Daniel Byantoro's parishes in Indonesia use local languages, some Greek, and even a bit of English if there is an English-speaking visitor. When I visited an all-Arabic-speaking parish (full of Syrian/Lebanese immigrants) in London on Pentecost two years ago, the priest made a point of singing one litany and reading one of the kneeling prayers in English because he knew that my wife and I did not understand Arabic. I was touched by the courtesy. No, I should not necessarily have expected such accomodation, but it was much appreciated nonetheless.
Yes this has happened to me too, but again you are juxtaposing a parish to a monastery. There are stricter rules in a monastery. Yes, there are books of etiquette about gracious hosts, but there are books of etiquette about being a gracious guest also.
As I said above, I probably should not have given the specific name of the monastery and abbot which I criticized. I do not think I should be forbidden to question or critique an assertion simply because it was made by a member of the clergy, though.
Yes, we are not forbidden. But we must be careful since here is a public forum and while you and I might have honest disposition, there might be other people who might be scandalized by us, or others who for the lack of full knowledge might take those words and perpetrate cheap gossip.
As for covering the sin of a priest or bishop... There are patristic sayings which encourage this, but I think such sentiments can be abused. Here I am speaking not of the present discussion but in a much more general sense. Clergy cannot engage in vice and expect to "get away with it" because they are clergy. Small sins should be covered; this is true. But if anyone -- clergyman or otherwise -- is guilty of abuse, theft, or any other serious offense, they should be held accountable.
I guess this is a matter of personal choice... Like a movie director, or a script choose to allow the main character to decide. I am sure God will use our decisions for good. For me I tend to agree with St. Constantine the Great and btw I have had no blessing to have a priest, monastic in my family so I have no personal interest involved.