So when the Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbians, and Georgian declared themselves a patriarchal it took years for recognition and they were all considered schismatic churches and simply needed time to be reconginized and in "communion"?
Basically correct. In the case of Georgia, they were autocephalous for a very long time without anyone objecting until the Russians conquered Georgia, after which their status went back and forth, depending on Imperial and Soviet politics. And, in the case of Serbia, their status fluctuated a few times.
Not quite so in the case of the Bulgarian Church. Here is an outline of what happened.865 AD:
Official adoption of Christianity by Tsar Boris I. 870 AD (First Greek Dominion):
Fourth Council of Constantinople granted autonomy to the Bulgarian Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Everything was in Greek and nobody understood anything.886 AD:
Tsar Boris I welcomed the disciples Saints Cyril and Methodius and gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril. The liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Macedonian Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki.893 AD:
Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacing of the Greek language with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.919 AD:
Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos (near the present-day city of Pomorie) and Katasyrtai (near Constantinople), the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate at an ecclesiastical and national council.927 AD:
After Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded the 20-year-long war between them, the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognised the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and acknowledged its patriarchal dignity. The Bulgarian Patriarchate was the first autocephalous Slavic Orthodox Church, preceding the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1219) by 300 years and of the Russian Orthodox Church (1596) by some 600 years. It was the sixth Patriarchate after Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch.990 AD:
Patriarch Philip, moved to Ohrid (in present-day south-western Republic of Macedonia), which became the permanent seat of the Patriarchate.1018 AD:
After the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantium domination, Emperor Basil II Bulgaroktonus (the “Bulgar-Slayer”) acknowledged the autocephalous status
of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. By special charters (royal decrees), his government set up its boundaries, dioceses, property and other privileges. The church was deprived of its Patriarchal title and reduced to the rank of an archbishopric.Second Greek Dominion:
Although the first appointed archbishop (John of Debar) was a Bulgarian, his successors, as well as the whole higher clergy, were invariably Greeks. The monks and the ordinary priests remained, however, predominantly Bulgarian. To a large extent the archbishopric preserved its national character, upheld the Slavonic liturgy and continued its contribution to the development of Bulgarian literature. The autocephaly of the Ohrid Archbishopric remained respected during the periods of Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ottoman rule. The church continued to exist until its unlawful abolition in 1767.The Tirnovo Patriarchate (1186-1235):
As a results of the successful uprising of the brothers Peter IV and Ivan Asen I in 1185/1186, the foundations of the Second Bulgarian State were laid with Tarnovo as its capital. Following Boris I’s principle that the sovereignty of the state is inextricably linked to the autocephaly of the Church, the two brothers immediately took steps to restore the Bulgarian Patriarchate. As a start, they established an independent archbishopric in Tarnovo in 1186. The struggle to have the archbishopric recognized according to the canonical order and elevated to the rank of a Patriarchate took almost 50 years. Following the example of Boris I, Bulgarian Tsar Kaloyan manoeuvred for years between the Patriarch of Constantinople and Pope Innocent III. Finally in 1203 the latter proclaimed the Tarnovo Archbishop Vassily "Primate and Archbishop of all Bulgaria and Walachia." The union with the Roman Catholic Church continued for well over three decades.
Under the reign of Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218-1241), conditions were created for the termination of the union with Rome and for the recognition of the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. In 1235 a church council was convened in the town of Lampsakos. Under the presidency of Patriarch German II of Constantinople and with the consent of all Eastern Patriarchs, the council confirmed the Patriarchal dignity of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and consecrated the Bulgarian archbishop German as Patriarch.
Note: It was the Patriarch of Tarnovo who confirmed the patriarchal dignity of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1346, despite protests by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. 1393-1767:
After the fall of Tarnovo under the Ottomans in 1393 and the sending of Patriarch Evtimiy into exile, the autocephalous church organization was destroyed again. The Bulgarian diocese was subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The other Bulgarian religious centre – the Ohrid Archbishopric – managed to survive a few centuries more (until 1767), as a stronghold of faith and piety.Ottoman Rule:
During and immediately after the Ottoman conquest, the vast majority of the Bulgarian churches and monasteries, including the Patriarchal Cathedral church of the Holy Ascension in Tarnovo, were razed to the ground. The few surviving ones were converted into mosques. Most of the clergy were killed, while the intelligentsia associated with the Tarnovo Literary School fled to neighbouring Serbia, Wallachia, Moldavia or to Russia.
St. George, the Newmartyr of Sofia, icon from the 19th century
There were martyrs to the Church as many districts and almost all larger towns in the Bulgarian provinces of the Ottoman Empire were subjected to forceful conversion to Islam as early as the first years after the conquest. St. George of Kratovo (+1515), St. Nicholas of Sofia (+1515), Bishop Vissarion of Smolen (+1670), Damaskin of Gabrovo (+1771), St. Zlata of Muglen (+1795), St. John the Bulgarian (+1814), St. Ignatius of Stara Zagora (+1814), St. Onouphry of Gabrovo (+1818) and many others perished defending their faith. After many of the leadership of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church were executed, it was fully subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Third Greek Dominion:
As the higher Bulgarian church clerics were replaced by Greek ones at the beginning of the Ottoman domination, the Bulgarian population was subjected to double oppression – political by the Ottomans and cultural by the Greek clergy. With the rise of Greek nationalism in the second half of the 18th century, the clergy imposed the Greek language and a Greek consciousness on the emerging Bulgarian bourgeoisie. The Patriarchate of Constantinople became its tool to assimilate other peoples. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the clergy opened numerous schools with all-round Greek language curriculum and nearly banned the Bulgarian liturgy. in 1767 the Bulgarian Patriarchate was abolished by Constantinople, whose Patriarch was also the Ottoman Millet Bashi or Etnarch of all Christians except the Armenians.The Bulgarian Exarchate:
In 1762, St. Paisius of Hilendar (1722-1773), a monk from the south-western Bulgarian town of Bansko, wrote a short historical work. It was the first work written in the modern Bulgarian vernacular and was also the first call for a national awakening. In History of Slav-Bulgarians, Paissiy urged his compatriots to throw off subjugation to the Greek language and culture. The example of Paissiy was followed by a number of other activists, including St. Sophroniy of Vratsa (Sofroni Vrachanski) (1739-1813), hieromonk Spiridon of Gabrovo, hieromonk Yoakim Karchovski (d. 1820), hieromonk Kiril Peychinovich (d. 1845).
Discontent with the supremacy of the Greek clergy started to flare up in several Bulgarian dioceses as early as the 1820s. It was not until 1850 that the Bulgarians initiated a purposeful struggle against the Greek clerics in a number of bishoprics, demanding their replacement with Bulgarian ones. By that time, most Bulgarian clergy had realised that further struggle for the rights of the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire could not succeed unless they managed to obtain some degree of autonomy from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. As the Ottomans identified nationality with religion, and the Bulgarians were Eastern Orthodox, the Ottomans considered them part of the Roum-Milet, i.e., the Greeks. To gain Bulgarian schools and liturgy, the Bulgarians needed to achieve an independent ecclesiastical organisation.
The struggle between the Bulgarians, led by Neofit Bozveli and Ilarion Makariopolski, and the Greeks intensified throughout the 1860s. By the end of the decade, Bulgarian bishoprics had expelled most of the Greek clerics, thus the whole of northern Bulgaria, as well as the northern parts of Thrace and Macedonia had effectively seceded from the Patriarchate. 1870 AD:
The Ottoman government restored the Bulgarian Patriarchate under the name of "Bulgarian Exarchate" by a decree (firman) of the Sultan promulgated on February 28, 1870. The original Exarchate extended over present-day northern Bulgaria (Moesia), Thrace without the Vilayet of Adrianople, as well as over north-eastern Macedonia. After the Christian population of the bishoprics of Skopje and Ohrid voted in 1874 overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Exarchate (Skopje by 91%, Ohrid by 97%), the Bulgarian Exarchate became in control of the whole of Vardar and Pirin Macedonia. The Bulgarian Exarchate was partially represented in southern Macedonia and the Vilayet of Adrianople by vicars. Thus, the borders of the Exarchate included all Bulgarian districts in the Ottoman Empire.
1872 AD: The Patriarchate of Constantinople opposed the change, convening a Council and declaring the Bulgarian Exarchate schismatic and its adherents heretics. Although the status and the guiding principles of the Exarchate reflected the canons, the Patriarchate argued that “surrender of Orthodoxy to ethnic nationalism” was essentially a manifestation of heresy. The Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch (both of whom were under the dominion of the Patriarch of Constantinople during much of the 19th Century) supported this decision. Patriarch Sophronius IV (1870-1899), for example was Sophronius III, Patriarch of Constantinople, from 1863 to 1866. In 1870 he was elected Greek Patriarch of Alexandria as a compromise candidate in a disputed election. 1895 AD:
The Tarnovo Constitution formally established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as the national religion of the nation. On the eve of the Balkan Wars, in Macedonia and the Adrianople Vilayet, the Bulgarian Exarchate had seven dioceses with prelates and eight more with acting chairmen in charge and 38 vicariates; 1,218 parishes and 1,212 parish priests; 64 monasteries and 202 chapels; as well as of 1,373 schools with 2,266 teachers and 78,854 pupils.1945 AD:
The schism was lifted and the Patriarch of Constantinople recognised the autocephaly of the Bulgarian Church. 1953 AD:
In 1950, the Holy Synod had adopted a new Statute which paved the way for the restoration of the Patriarchate and in 1953, it elected the Metropolitan of Plovdiv, Cyril, as the Bulgarian Patriarch.