Why would a Patriarchate having to move location automatically mean that it's Exarchates, Metropolitanates etc. would necessarily become autocephalous?
Did this happen when the Patriarchate of Antioch moved to Damascus?
Different issue, at least in present circumstances.
In Antioch, Antioch herself had lost her importance as a city, after a couple earthquakes, sackings, etc. It's quite provincial now. But when I went there ('92) it had a rather large Orthodox population with children in it. I don't think I ever saw an Orthodox child in Constantinople. None of the Holy Synod of Antioch is titular: I believe I've been to all the sees, and visited their Churches, i.e. people worshipping, not just an locked up building. Is anyone on the Holy Synod of Constantinople, from an Antatiolian see (besides Smyrna) NOT titular? I think I've been to all these sees, and I remember only ruined Churches.
The problem is, the EP has no where to go. The Pat. of Antioch went from one living see to another living see in his Patriarchate. How much life is in the Anatolian body? There are places, it would seem: out Theophilos78 (number correct?) converted in the South East, but was baptized by an Arab priest. Does anyone know where the EP has actually living Churches in Anatolia?
There maybe an infusion coming: besides Muslim converts like Theophilos (are they common in the Turkish Republic? They are frequent enough in Syria), there is an influx of Gagauzi from Moldova into the TR. They are nearly all Orthodox. But will they be integrated in the EP? Will they succumb to Turkish nationalism, and become nominal Muslims? I don't know their legal status as immigrants, are they eligible for election and would the Greeks accept a Gagauzi EP? Then there are the Russians.
Btw, anyone know what happened to the schismatic Turkish Orthodox?
The problem is those requirements of Turkish citizenship. While the citizenship test would solve Jerusalem, causes no problem in Antioch, and hasn't been a problem in Alexandria, in Constantinople it is deadly. So the EP has millions outside of the TR. If they cannot provide candidates for the see, what difference does it make? Does anyone know, how many monks are in the TR?
So back to your question, when there is no head, what do the Metropolitans, etc. do?
I was next going to post on the Autocephay thread about the flight of the Jerusalem Church, but maybe I'll do it here.