that was the idea that was presented in my class. It is not about changing our entire ecclesiology, but rather DEVELOPING an ecclesiology that reflects the modern paradigm. As it stands right now, our ecclesiology is one of the DIOCESE (metropolis), and not of the parish. Only at the diocese do you ACTUALLY have the "fullness" of the church b/c that is where the bishop is. Now, of course we have communion ecclesiology saying wherever people are taking communion there is the fullness of Christ, the fullness of the church. However, in terms of ecclesiological principles, there is a great need to develop an ecclesiology of the parish, b/c the bishop is just not there. There are 2 options: either we put a bishop in each parish (each city), or we develop an ecclesiology that reflects the current situation = priest, parish (ecclesiology of the local parish).
I could probably post some of my notes on this if people are interested...I have to go through the proper channels though before I post anything...
I think the "Ecclesiology of the parish" has been in effect for quite some time now: there hasn't been 1 Bishop to each parish for nearly 2,000 years (3rd century is the last of it, really, before the expansion of the Church in the early 4th Century). The fullness of the Church is present because of the blessing given to the Priest by the Bishop to serve the Eucharist, which commemorates his name and which mystically unites them with him (and Him) despite the apparent limitations of time and space.
Part of the more modern disconnect in some areas is, I think, because of an under-utilization of the Chancellors, who should be doing 90%+ of the administrative work, leaving the Bishops free to do more traveling, preaching, teaching, etc.
But I don't think that there is as much of a disconnect as we think between our core ecclesiology and the modern parish-situation. If we were to re-focus on the parish, it would have no change in the core ecclesiology (i.e. the Priest isn't a Bishop) unless one wanted to Change the ecclesiology (thus, giving the Priest the responsibilities and rights of a Bishop).
The problem with this, as far as I have gathered without going to my notes, is that in the Eucharist, which is the element which unites us, the presider/enactor/etc. of the eucharist is the bishop. However, now it is the priest who presides over the eucharist, EVEN THOUGH it is the bishop who gives him that right. In the ancient church the prerogative of the presbyter was to be in council with the bishop (presbyterium) and to preach and teach, etc. They were never the sole presiders over the eucharist, until after the 4th c. as you had said.
Again, what I think is the major problem, as far as I have gathered, is that our basic ecclesiology is One bishop, One eucharist, One church. So, how does the priest fit into that system? I am not sure that your answer is an adequate one. Just because he is given permission to preside over the eucharist, doesn't mean that the priest is the bishop right? But the bishop is the presider over the eucharist. You can see how we need to DEVELOP an ecclesiology that reflects the modern system.
I think i'm gona send you my notes brother. The whole class was kind of confusing, and I can't really argue what others have argued. If you want to do some more reading on it, Zizioulas printed his thesis in English, in which the last section of his book deals directly with this issue. Also the WCC has some good articles on this problem. PM me your e-mail, since i'm pretty sure i've lost it now...