Church Authority-overall observations:Two sides-Two paths
The absolute authority within the Orthodox Church is the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the conciliatory nature of the Church, ecclesiology-the assembly of believers in communion of the Eucharist, Christ being the Head BIshop, and being guided by the Holy Spirit. The Church is the Body of Christ, not one bishop. The catholicity of the Church has nothing to do with a universal organization, it has no need of external bonds in order to be one.
The Pope, the Latin Church's sole authority, can make or change dogmas or traditions because this is possible through the "chair of Peter' and Peter's primacy. The Latin Church being essentially monarchial. They understand the catholicity of the Church as a legal cohesion, as an interdependence regulated by some code. Their local churches are not united by the Pope or the Papal hierarchy, but by their common nature.
One side makes the claims that a sole central authority is more efficient and unifying. A universal authority, universal teaching, a universal church, versus a church with many heads and no central unity or authority.
The center of the early Church was in Jerusalem, where all twelve Apostles received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Form this center all were to go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father ,Son, and Holy Spirit. Did one Apostle have sole authority and leadership at that time?
Prior to the Schism, the Church was one unified Body in Christ, catholic and apostolic. Rome held a "primacy of honor", but this is disputed and lacks any historical evidence. Rome had the teaching authority and the authority concerning the Seven Ecumenical Councils decisions. Other than political conflicts, was there an equality amongst the other Patriarchates?
Both the East and West developed differently, and continue today on different paths. The East has not deviated from the Holy Faith. The West, Rome, has added and changed, and most of all created an infallible universal Pope as leader. Their claims of Peter being sole leader, justifies their position, as related to the entire church. Most individuals overlook the ultramontanism movement, a religious philosophy within the Catholic Church, who became closely associated with the Jesuits, who defended the superiority of Popes over councils and kings. Ultramontanism achieved victory over conciliarism.
The East had its heresies, which were resolved by the Ecumenical Councils. Today, there exists two Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox. The West, devoid of any heresies, now consists of not only the Latin or Roman Catholic Church, but Protestants(via the Protestant Reformation), the Anglican Church(Henry the VIII declaring himself as the head of the church), the Hussites(in Bohemia), and various Old and Traditional Catholic jurisdictions not under the Pope. Were these Western movements the result of Rome's authority and infallibility?