The Melkite Catholic Patriarch reminded his interlocutor at 30 Days magazine that he was not subject to the pope, but was rather in communion with him. Latins often confuse these two things.
Methinks the Latins are right.
No Eastern Catholic Patriarch presides over any Church with a higher ecclesiastical status than autonomous.
The Church of Rome is the only autocephalous Church in the Catholic Church. The Pope is not equal to the Patriarchs. He is their boss and superior.
This is clearly stated in the Canon Law of the Eastern Churcheshttp://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG1199/_INDEX.HTM
The bishop of the Church of Rome, in whom resides the office
(munus) given in special way by the Lord to Peter, first of the
Apostles and to be transmitted to his successors, is head of the
college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the entire
Church on earth; therefore, in virtue of his office (munus) he
enjoys supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in
the Church which he can always freely exercise.
1. The Roman Pontiff, by virtue of his office (munus), not only
has power over the entire Church but also possesses a primacy of
ordinary power over all the eparchies and groupings of them by
which the proper, ordinary and immediate power which bishops
possess in the eparchy entrusted to their care is both strengthened and safeguarded.
2. The Roman Pontiff, in fulfilling the
office (munus) of the supreme pastor of the Church is always
united in communion with the other bishops and with the entire
Church; however, he has the right, according to the needs of the
Church, to determine the manner, either personal or collegial, of
exercising this function.
3. There is neither appeal nor recourse against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.
...and several other canons.