I am no expert, but for whatever reason I would generally agree that Rome was conservative and removed from many of the conflicts of the orient, such as iconoclasm. But today it seems as is the roles have changed. The east is conservative, and the west has been overrun by heresies. Classic flip-flop.
This is very true. I believe the very same thing. In the early days of the Church, progressive thought and philosophy traveled with the Emperor to his new Capital and left the Roman See in a kind of conservative backwater which acted for a time as a preservative in similar fashion as the modern oppression over the Eastern Church in our day as acted. Modernity is a very corrosive element and one I am curious to see its reaction upon eastern conservative views. I have witnessed a few telling sign of it's effects on this forum and it is concerning but I guess we should rest in the hope of Christ's promise to Peter...And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.
~ Matt. 16:18-19
I am curious though as it the 'subject' referred to "and on this rock". The subject throughout seem to clearly point to "Peter". Somewhat surprisingly, the consensus among even Protestant commentators today (including such eminent scholar such as R.T. France, D.A. Carson, William hendriksen, Gerhard Maier, and Craig L. Bloomberg), is that rock indeed refers to Peter himself, not his faith. Of course, they, not unlike others here, try to evade any further "Catholic" implication, though, by denying the notion of papal succession - that Peter as rock applies to Peter alone or the reverse interpretation not unlike that spoken by John Calvin comments, "nothing is here given to Peter that was not common to him and his colleagues" (Institutes, IV, 6,4).
Historically, the standard polemical response of Protestants to the phraseology of rock was to contend that it referred only to Peter's faith, not Peter himself. In that way, the institutional element of the charge from the Lord to St. Peter can be viewed as merely a representative of a general principle, rather than unique in the sense of institutional, concrete leadership and jurisdiction. I see a common thread here as well. To greater or lesser degrees, I see amongst both Protestant and Orthodox alike, variants of the ultimate primacy of the individual over that of an authoritative, hierarchical Church headed by a pope.
Yet Jesus did not tell anyone else that He would build His Church upon them. He renamed no one else "Rock," and only one person received the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." Peter was unique in all these respects.
Other common arguments include the claim that the Petrine headship indicated in this passage has nothing to do with universal jurisdiction, or Roman primacy, or papal infallibility. But that is moving far afield of the topic at hand.
Here we are concerned with St. Peter as the proclaimed leader of the Church of God. The finer points and particulars of such an office require another discussion entirely. In any event, papal succession is easily deduced from Matthew 16:18-19. St. Peter was the first leader of the Church. He died as the bishop of Rome (where St. Paul also died). That is how and why Roman primacy began: not because the church in Roman was 'founded' by Peter or Paul but because Peter's successor was the bishop in the location where he ended up and died.
This last part is quite critical to understand the Roman claim. Far too often I read straw men by posters on this forum which completely misses the point of the Roman Claim.
As usual these one sided "kick the strawman Catholic" topics have raised my passions to offer a defense. Not to 'apologize' my Eastern Orthodox Brothers and Sisters but to keep the discussion 'real'. Far too often here the whole point of your opposition is completely lost in the intemperate zeal of your argument.