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?
That is a fair assessment, and fully supported by documents and the Council of Chalcedon.
Could the Orthodox agree to communion with a pope that spoke thus:...
First of all, No. The reason is that it's not the extent of papal jurisdiction that is prejducitional to communion, but the lack of theological unity. Communion is, as we know, not a means towards a union, but an expression of such a union in faith. When one bishop recognizes the same faith in another bishop, they are then in communion.
As regards papal jurisdictional authority outined in he quote of +Leo the Great, please note that the quote says there arose also a distinction among bishops. Clearly +Leo Great here concedes that the greater authority arose among bishops, leading to different levels of authority, which clearly shows that it was not something given, but evaluational in nature.
Thus, the idea that the papacy is something that was rooted in scripture was not the opinion of the early Church. The Council of Chalcedon testifies to the effect, and reveals instead that the bishops, in the General Council, gave primacy of honor and privileges to those bishops who were in cities of imperial dignity, first the Old Rome and then the New Rome (Constantinople).
Thus the records of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451 A.D.) leave no doubt or any ambiguity as to whence the honors and privileges were received by some bishops and why.
But notice that the bishops also state the throne of the new Rome should "in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after [the throne of Old Rome], which would give the impression that the +Peter's throne is "above" the one in Constantinople.
But that is immediately dispelled by a clear and unambiguous statement of juridical authority of the Bishops of Constantinople as being separate from Rome, and absolute to his area of jurisdiction:
As is well known, +Leo the Great refused to sign and approve this (in)famous (28th) canon, but the canon was put into effect even over his veto, his lamenting to the Emperor and the Empress separately, and ignored by his own Latin bishops in Illyria.
This was such an insult to the West that the Council of Trullo(692 A.D.) renewed canon 28, but found it necessary to make the following statement as well:
That being said, it remains unaltered that a bishop is the highest ecclesial authority in the church. The primacy of some bishops are of honor and privileges, and therefore dignity, not authority over other bishops.
For practical reasons, religious communities require larger bodies to be represented by one of their own (an archbishop) by the will and the decision of the Synod of bishops. This, these responsibilities are given by the bishops to the bishops for practical reasons, as one professional organization elects its officers who represent the whole professional community, but do not lord over them.
One must remember that although +Peter is distinctly selected in the NT (either for his weakness or his strength of faith), and given the keys, there is no evidence that the primitive Church considered him to be the "prince" of the Apostles, nor did the Apostles "report" to him or depend on his approval.
Likewise, the evolution of papacy can also be seen in the fact that the first Pope to use the title Papa was Siricisuc at the very end of the 4th century (384-399 A.D.). Until that time, +Peter's succsors in Rome were only referred to individually as Episcopus Romanus (i.e. Bishop of Rome).