Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
In day to day functions, and in their initial roles of ordination, Popes and Patriarchs alike are the same thing. The differences between the Latin Pope and the Orthodox Patriarch only play out much later, particularly after different political developments in Europe around the Reformation. Patriarchs in the Orthodox jurisdictions have unilateral authority in many matters, but we do not take their words as Gospel. I am not quite sure that for most of Latin history anyone took the Popes' word as gospel either. That seems a more recent development, and in all actuality one in retaliation against many political developments across the fading Holy Roman Empire. The Pope became a superior bishop to try and hemorrhage the bleeding when so many heretical bishops splintered away into Protestantism (England, Germany, I'm looking at you
) The Patriarch is a first among equals, but in regards to Council decisions (local or universal) their decisions are the signatory conclusion. I understand that traditionally they have what we today might think of the executive veto priveleges, perhaps even line-item? In many other symbolic functions, the Patriarch and Latin Popes are the same thing. We definitely do not agree with the legal concepts of Papal Infallibility, but that is a later development if you ask me. For the first thousand years, and probably five hundred years after that, we were probably the same thing. The Latin Popes had fairly strong control and influence in their own jurisdictions. Were they invincible? No, they suffered as many invasions, exiles, and anti-popes as any Orthodox Bishop (our father Saint Athanasius I'm lookin at you
) which implies that they hardly had any authoritarian control of their Latin leadership, political and clerical. In Orthodox Jurisdictions, the Patriarch has a lot of sway and influence as well, with equal amounts of strife and sometimes derision. After all, they are
the Apostles (the outcasts of the earth as Paul asserts)