Can anyone xplain to me why the Orthodox reject the Primacy of Peter, based on Scripture? I mean, to me, it seems that Scripture backs the idea of Peter being the Chief Apostle.
I must appologize for not first getting permission from Arsenios and I hope he forgives my boldness in having one of his articles posted. Its one of the best explanations I have come across in many postings that make clear just what St. Peter's role was in the early church:
"Christ called St. Peter to be the leader of the apostolic choir, and through his leadership, to mirror the oneness of the apostolic mission and grace. It is for this reason that St. Peter is often singled out in the Gospels and the writings of the Fathers for special mention. St. Peter was a symbol of the oneness and equality of the apostles and his leadership was meant to coordinate the affairs of the other apostles in peace and concord. Before his martyrdom, St. Peter (with St. Paul) left this mission of primacy and service in the See of Rome.
For this reason, the early Church believed that the Roman Church held a primacy among the other Churches. This ministry was a continuation of St. Peter’s and was analogous to his service among the apostles. The Bishop of Rome, as the head of the Roman Church, exercised this primacy and for this reason was considered a unique successor of Peter. Like St. Peter’s work among the apostles, the Bishop of Rome’s work among the bishops was one of service among equals. It was also meant to be serve as a symbol of the oneness of all Orthodox Bishops and Churches. Therefore, when you see quotes that give special titles to the Pope, that laud the unerring Faith of Rome, that set Rome apart from other Churches, be reminded that this is done to show that all the Bishops, the Orthodox Faith, and the Churches themselves, are one. This isn’t done in order to turn Rome into some “super-Church” and the Bishop of Rome into a “super-bishop.” It is only for the purpose of stressing the oneness of the gifts of God.
In the early centuries of Christianity, this Roman primacy was always in the form of bearing witness to the common faith shared by all Christians and was devoted to the solitude and well-being of the Churches of God. The Roman See was never understood as a "sovereign" of other Churches, nor was her bishop the "sovereign" of other bishops. All Orthodox Churches were considered as equal and possessing full unity of faith, worship, and communion with each other. Rome was meant to bear witness to the oneness of the Church, the unity of her Faith, and was devoted to the service of the Churches' full catholicity and success in bearing witness to the Gospel.
When Rome changed this legit gift of primacy and service into power over other Churches and replaced the Eucharistic unity of the Church with a secular unity befitting the Roman Empire rather than the Kingdom of God, Orthodox Christians judged the Pope as having broken communion with the Body of Christ, and we currently await an Orthodox Pope who will restore the Orthodox Rome of the Holy Fathers. We don't consider ourselves to have broken communion with St. Peter, the Orthodox Popes of Rome, nor the Orthodox Roman See. Post-Schism Roman Popes changed, whereas we remained solid in the Faith and practice of the Holy Fathers."