Your experience may be different from mine, but I think that what the Orthodox Church desperately needs is unity. It doesn't have to be under one jurisdiction, and I don't think that's what Hopko is saying.
I spent many years in San Francisco, where there is at least one representative of just about every Orthodox church in the world. We had three different "Russian" churches (one of which later became part of the OCA) and the people in them wouldn't even speak to each other. And converts were even worse: they did not become Orthodox, they became Greek, or Syrian, or ultra-Russian. I knew a convert who was a member of the so-called "Exile Church" who wouldn't have anything to do with the members of the Russian Orthodox church that eventually founded the OCA because they were all "Little Russians" and his church was all "Great Russians." He didn't even have one drop of Russian blood, but this is how he perceived Orthodoxy.
And I had another friend who was Serbian and, when one Serbian church collapsed because of internal infighting, she wouldn't go to the other because it had too many people from (I don't even remember the region), whom she did not consider truly Orthodox.
And then I lived in a place where the local Greek Orthodox church kicked out a pastor (American born of 100% Greek descent) because he wasn't Greek enough and was - gasp! - encouraging non-Greeks to come to the church.
So I think the Orthodox Church does have a serious problem here, and it's not at the formal administrative level alone. And I think that's what Fr. Hopko was trying to say.
C, I am unaware of any Orthodox position, absolutist or otherwise, which holds that nobody has any authority over a local bishop. It has always been the belief of The Church, at least since +Ignatius of Antioch, that the fullness of The Church is found in a local diocese, the bishop surrounded by his clergy, monastics and laity.
It should come as no surprise you, K, that in the Latin Church, many bishops not only share this belief but would welcome this power. As a member of a diocese run by an ultra leftist bishop, such power would translate into rewriting the liturgical texts to render them gender neutral. And that is just for starters. Imagine according such power to this "bishop"!
That's enough to send shivers down my spine and I don't reside in his diocese.
ALL corporations, institutions and private industries are run by one person who serves as CEO. All countries function under the leadership of one President. These individuals are elected and/or chosen to be the final decision makers. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ, recognized the need to place one person in charge and He did so when He named Peter as His successor.
One compelling biblical fact that points clearly to Simon Peters primacy among the 12 Apostles and his importance and centrality to the drama of Christs earthly ministry, is that he is mentioned by name (e.g. Simon, Peter, Cephas, Kephas, etc.) 195 times in the course of the New Testament. The next most often-mentioned Apostle is St. John, who is mentioned a mere 29 times. After John, in descending order, the frequency of the other Apostles being mentioned by name trails off rapidly.
When the names of all the Apostles are listed, Peter is always first. Judas Iscariot, the Lords traitor, is always listed last (cf. Matt. 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-17; and Acts 1:13). Sometimes Scripture speaks simply of Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles or Peter and his companions (cf. Luke 9:32; Mark 16:7; Acts 2:37), showing that he had a special role that represented the entire apostolic college. Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69).
No matter how much consensus one might find amongst bishops, there still needs to be one voice that corrects the misunderstandings of those who have erred and speaks on behalf of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And that person is the Pope, the Successor of St. Peter.
But here is the rub. Before the split there was a difference of opinion within the undivided Church about the role of the pope. We are all familiar with the statements from the early popes and and western bishops in this regard. When the Orthodox call for a return to the status of the pope to that as it was in the undivided Church are they not really saying that they want the Latins to agree with what the Greeks held at that time? Could the Orthodox agree to communion with a pope that spoke thus:
Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. From this formality there arose also a distinction among bishops, and by a great arrangement it was provided that no one should arrogate everything to himself, but in individual provinces there should be individual bishops whose opinion among their brothers should be first; and again, certain others, established in larger cities, were to accept a greater responsibility. Through them the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head.These words come from Pope Leo I around 446, well within the time of the undivided Church. I am not arguing that this was accepted by the Greeks (although I do think that the opinion in the East was a bit more complicated and fluid than is usually portrayed by the Orthodox), only that it was a strongly held opinion held by the early popes and the Western church. If the beliefs and practices of the undivided Church are to be the rule for unity, how can Rome's claims of universal jurisdiction be a justification for division?