This is the orthodox view as it pertains to this thread.
Q. Ã¢â‚¬â€œWasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it a historical mistake on the part of the Church, when She ceded a primacy of honor to the Patriarchates of (Old) Rome and Constantinople (New Rome), given that this primacy of honor gave rise to those conditions that enabled a splintering of the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unity, which had previously been secured by the Synodic framework of participation by all equal (until then) bishops, thus turning the Church into a worldwide organization? Because to many, the Church nowadays appears with two heads: the Pope for the Catholics and the Ecumenical Patriarch for the Orthodox.
R. Ã¢â‚¬â€œThis is a very important question that you have posed, and I shall give you my reply. The Patriarchates, the Autocephalous (self-headed) Churches Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all of these had developed, precisely as expressions of the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬ËœsynodicityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, and not as institutions that hovered above the Church. They were developed as Synodic institutions in various territories. What was the Pentarchy? It was the five Patriarchates that existed in five different parts of the world, with Synods that had a Head. And naturally all of the Autocephalous Churches are the same. This status is of course governed by the spirit (and even the letter, I would say) of a canon of the Church; the 34th Apostolic Canon. According to this very important Canon, all the bishops of one territory are obliged to acknowledge one Head; they must have a Primate, otherwise they cannot convene a Synod without a Head. Thus, it was Ã¢â‚¬ËœsynodicityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ that brought forth these primacies. However, the Canon further designates that the bishops alone cannot do anything without the Primate, just as the Primate cannot do anything without them. This was the spirit along which the Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Churches developed. So, what do we have? We have a Primate in every territory. We cannot do anything without the Primate, but he cannot do anything either, without a Synod. We might have divergences either way, i.e,, in synods that are commandeered by the Primate, or vice versa. These things do not affect Ecclesiology and Canonical Justice. The institution per se is correct. Now, what if the institution is being abused? Well, this is a matter that concerns ethics, not Ecclesiology. Ecclesiologically, the institution is correct. Provided that the Primate does not do anything without the Synod.
Each one of these local Churches - and they amongst each other Ã¢â‚¬â€œ acknowledges a Primate. Because, if the need arises to convene a Synod, or do something in common, someone has to supervise. And one such Primate had been acknowledged through History: the Bishop of Constantinople in the East. Provided the Bishop of Constantinople moved within the spirit of the Canon that I described, there would be no problem. In other words, if he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anything without taking the others into account, and if, respectively, the others didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anything (that pertained to all the local Churches) without taking him into account, then everything was alright. Subsequently, the system itself Ã¢â‚¬â€œecclesiologically speaking- is extremely correct, and we do not have a case of Papism, because the Pope is the one who has taken the right to intervene in absolutely any local Church; in other words, he does things without asking the others. Or, he asks them, but the final decision is his. The Bishop of Constantinople is not like that. When the memorable Athenagoras became Patriarch, he was unable to officiate during the Liturgy in the neighboring Metropolis of Derkon, because the bishop of Derkon did not give him permission to officiate. And the Patriarch Athenagoras was still unable to officiate, until the Bishop of Derkon had passed away. Can you understand the difference here? Could anyone possibly refuse something like that to the Pope? Now, if, out of courtesy or any other reason the bishops make this concession to the Primate and allow him to officiate wherever he wants, this is strictly their personal decision. Thus, the institution itself does not contain the papal element. Therefore, in reply to your question, the development of Patriarchates did not hurt Ecclesiology, nor did it lead to Papism.