Now, let us add a drop of utter delusion to an otherwise sensible (if, as we have seen, enormously misguided) thought, courtesy of the Militant Americanist OrthodoxTM (who are to be distinguished, of course, from normal Orthodox Americans): why doesn’t the Ecumenical Patriarch (again, like the Patriarch of Antioch) exile himself, but by moving to the US instead? “That way,” say they, “we get undisputed autocephaly, and even a patriarch of our own.” (I can’t tell if the author of this particular comment was serious, or seriously thought he was offering the solution to end all solutions, or what, but I have certainly heard that thought seriously expressed more than once.)
Well, for a start, because the New World is not a part of the historic canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate the way Damascus is part of that of the Patriarchate of Antioch, so the situation would not really be analogous (as it would be, for instance, if the Ecumenical Patriarchate moved to Patmos). But further, for Patriarch Bartholomew to be the Primate of an Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the Americas, he would have to be the Bishop of a local diocese in the New World, even as he now is Archbishop of Constantinople, and thus Primate of the Autocephalous Church of Constantinople. Now, even if there suddenly came to be a single Autocephalous Church in the Americas, and if Patriarch Bartholomew moved to the US and became “Archbishop of Washington and Patriarch of the New World” or some such, this new Church would be the last in the precedence of honor among the world’s Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and its Primate (even if he himself had been Ecumenical Patriarch before) would be the very last to be commemorated in the diptychs by each of the Primates of the other Churches. Which is to say that the Primate of an Autocephalous American Orthodox Church would not be the new primus inter pares of the Orthodox episcopacy; pride of place would go then to the Patriarch of Alexandria. So, is that clear enough? Good.
Really, sometimes I wonder where in the world people get their ideas!