There seems to be a lot of issues going on about who is the "head" of the Churches, or who should be the "head" of the Church.
As you are aware, the Catholics argue that Saint Peter was given the mandate of being this head. They feel that we are in dis-subordination to their Pope, and we are heretical in our dogmas.
During the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Century AD: who was the head of the Church?
If the See of Saint Peter (Rome) was the head of the Church, why bother having Ecumenical Councils for? (e.g the Council of Nicea, the Council of Constantinople, the council of Ephesus etc..)
What was the point of these councils if the early church already had a head? Surely, if the see of Saint Peter was the head of the early Church, the patriarchs of Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, etc would have just said : "Let the See of Saint Peter decide" - why hold a council for? When Arius, the ridiculous, came up with his heresy, why the need for a council? Why didnt anyone tell him :"OK mate, look, let's wrap it up and put it past Rome and see what they think 1st ?"
Even the very 1st council (the council of Jerusalem) - where the Apostles disagreed on whether they should baptize or circumcise & baptise etc, it says clearly in the Bible that the Apostles were gathered with the elders to discuss this. Why even have a discussion if Saint Peter was their head? That's the whole point of a head - to lead, not to take opinions.
If the See of Saint Peter was the head of the World Wide Church, how could this "head" send his emissary to Constantinople, go into the great the Cathedral of Agios Sophia, during a mass, and excommunicate an ENTIRE patriarchate without any warning, without any discussion? Is this the action/behaviour of the head of a Church? The delagate was chased by a deacon before leaving, and BEGGED not to leave. He shakes the dust off of his sandals and says :"Let God look and Judge".
Is that something a leader should do?
Secondly, if Christ really did mean for Saint Peter (He - the man. Mr Simon Peter) as being THE STONE on which Christ was to build his Church - what happens when HE, SAINT PETER dies? Is the Church then supported by his tomb? Is the Church then dependent on him for salvation?? or is it his faith?? Is it his faith that Christ was talking about that is the rock? for Saint Peter did reply and said: "You are the Christ, the Son of God".
In the orthodox Church, the Pontiff, whoever it has been, follows in the footsteps of faith, dogma, tradition, understanding and spirituality of his predecessor. I guess in our case, that would be Saint Mark. But if the Catholics change their dogmas, and innovate their faith and spiritual traditions, yet have a See to their Patriarch (Saint Peter), then they are only successors to Saint Peter - the Person, not to Saint Peter's dogmas, traditions, spirituality, faith.. etc.. etc.
What is the importance of having a Single Head to govern all the Patriarchs? Why is this so important for the Catholics? Of course, I can appreciate that having a head means we are all united, we are One Church, but if we had different patriarchs and were still united by common dogma, faith, tradition, spirituality and creed, it would still be OK - no?? What would be missing? There would still be hierarchy, there would still be liturgies etc.
I see a benefit for us all sharing the same faith, dogmas, creeds etc. but I cannot see how all the patriarchs being under the authority of ONE patriarch helps in anyway whatsoever. I can see that we could all be ONE in faith, dogma and creed etc, and that would be nice, but why would anyone insist on all partriachates being under the One authority of Rome?
The catholics argue, today, that there is an urgency for unity, more than ever, and that unity depends on us accepting Rome as our authority. I don't understand this. I agree there is an urgency for unity, but how does being under "Rome" help with respect to dogmas? The Roman Catholics came up with a dogma called "LIMBO" - a few years ago, they said "Limbo doesn't exist". Today the Catholics are charismatic and have lost nearly ALL spiritual traditions in their Church: surely, it is a good thing we are NOT all under Rome so we don't look stupid?? (All of us?) Maybe it would be nice for only a few people to look weak or lost rather than the entire body of Christ???? So, I see a greater importance of "NOT PUTTING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET" philosophy here.
So, my questions are:
a) What was the state of the early Church concerning the Primacy of Saint Peter
b) Is it the faith of saint peter that holds the primacy, or is it the person?
c) What IS the importance of having a Single head of the Church?