I would like to address the question of the Orthodox view of the validity of Catholic sacraments. The Orthodox hold that the Catholic Church is not validly a part of the Church of Christ and thus (for many Orthodox) is lacking in God' grace. But by what authority can the Orthodox make such a claim. One, if not the chief, charges made by the Orthodox against the Roman church is the rejection of universal jurisdiction by the Roman Pontiff. Within Orthodox ecclessialogy each bishop's jurisdiction, including that of Rome, is limited to his own diocese. By this reasoning, by what authority does the Patriarch of Constantinople, or any of the bishops in the East, have to judge the Bishop of Rome and the Western church? While they may break communion between local churches, how can they issue a judgment of heresy and declare excommunicate from the universal church those who are not under their jurisdiction?
I think it is incorrectly stated, although it may come down to that by default. Since we do not teach one and the same theology, we cannot be in communion until we establish that, although apparently different, our theology is in fact one and the same.
If we are not in the same theological fold, the nature of Catholic sacraments is unknown to the Orthodox Church, but they may very well be exactly what ours are, yet we have no way of knowing that.
So, it is not a judgment, but a silence that becomes relevant only when a non-Orthodox believer expresses a wish to be received into Orthodoxy.
We would be equally uncertain if we were to say the Cathklic sacraments are the same as ours, as we would be in saying with certainty that they are not. If in doubt, leave it out! Second-guessing is not an option.
Now, if you consider that a Roman Catholic priest who returns to Orthodoxy (from our perspective) is merely vested and not re-ordained, makes it perfectly clear that his ordination (a holy sacrament) in the Catholic Church was "valid." What was needed was the confession of the Orthodox Faith.
"I would like to address the question of the Orthodox view of the validity of Catholic sacraments. The Orthodox hold that the Catholic Church is not validly a part of the Church of Christ and thus (for many Orthodox) is lacking in God' grace."
That, frankly, is news to me. It seems highly unlikely that the EP would address and speak about the Pope as "The Elder Brother at Rome" and "My Brother at Rome" and call the Roman Church the "Elder Church" or "sister church" if this were true.
"While they may break communion between local churches, how can they issue a judgment of heresy and declare excommunicate from the universal church those who are not under their jurisdiction?"
I suppose any bishop can declare something heresy. The rub comes in getting other bishops to accept that, or alternatively, avoid schism while saying such a thing. As for excommunication, well I doubt that the term is really useful in a discussion of the Church at Rome and Orthodoxy. Anathemas certainly have the effect of excommunication, and schismatics "self excommunicate", but again, in our discussion thiese are matters among hierarchs rather than the usual hierarch "excommunicating" a cleric or lay person.