I've tried very hard to understand Orthodoxy in the last couple yrs. I'm about ready to give up..I understand the Sacraments that the Apostles gave you, because we have them too. The Eucharist binds us because it came from Jesus Christ and explained by His Apostles.CATHOLIC SITE QUOTES: Emperor Justinian (520-533)
Writing to the Pope:
EDITED FOR SPACE
" ... you are the Head of all the holy Churches.(Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).
Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Surpreme Pastor, the salvation of all.(Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).
BEHIND THE CURTAIN:
There is nothing in Justinian's 533AD letter to Pope John II declaring the pope to be the “definer of doctrine” or “corrector of heretics”.
He does refer to the Pope as the “head of all Churches”. But Justinian’s Code also recognized the Church of Constantinople as the “mother” of all churches and the “head of all others”.
And a few years Justinian referred to Patriarchs Anthimus and Menas as “Universal Bishops”.
Lofty words. Justinian calling the popes or the patriarchs the heads of the church or universal bishops was merely window dressing.The emperor was truly the definer of doctrine and the corrector of heretics. This can be clearly witnessed throughout the course of Justinian’s reign and within his legislation.
As in his secular administration, despotism appeared also in the Emperor's ecclesiastical policy. He regulated everything, both in religion and in law.
The emperor conceived himself as "priest and king", supreme head on earth in matters ecclesiastical as well as the State
All through his reign he fell foul of the authority of the Church by his attempts to conciliate the Monophysites,a constant source of disunion and trouble to the empire.
Justinian's wife Theodora was a secret Monophysite; influenced by her, the emperor, while maintaining Chalcedon, tried to satisfy the heretics by various compromises.
This led to what was called the "3 Chapters controversy" 3 Bishops whose writings Justinian condemned,claiming they were Nestorian- a heresy a common enemy of both Chalcedonians and Monophysites.
It was purely political.
Justinian wanted to use Pope Vigilius as a pawn.
Pope Vigilius refused to condemn the 3 Chapters.
Justinian used every means he could to get Vigilius to comply with his views (including kidnapping, house arrest, physical abuse).
Finally in a letter Vigilius secretly promised Justinian that he would do everything possible to secure the condemnation of the Three Chapters
Justinian convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council over Pope Vigilius' express objections, and when Vigilius refused to come,
Snipped for space
Yet, Orthodoxy in general ie the hierarchal make up is so confusing. Greek, Ukraine, Russian.... I don't get it. Does a head of State have a say in the day to day operations of the Orthodox Church?
Also, there is no doubt Orthodox Bishops sometimes handled their own business 1800 yrs ago without direction from the Bishop of Rome. What were they to do if they needed answers? Wait 18 months for the messenger to return to Constantinople with a letter?? Its not like they could have faxed the Pope a doctrinal issue to be resolved that day...
Also, its obvious in todays world, that one Bishop and one fold is critical. imo Maybe that's why Christ set it up that way.... He foresaw the 20th and 21st Century, where a Pope was badly needed -politically and diplomaticly.
Speaking of that, I am in awe of our current Pope, Francis. What a wonderful vicar we have today.