Yeah, after all this, my question still is left unanswered:
If the mother church declares her daughter church to be autocephaleous, then why is that not enough to make her autocephaleous?
If this question is too hard to answer:
If a parent says that a child is independent, why question the child's independence?
Can a sister introduce another sister into a family without the consent of the family?
There is a substantive canonical argument in favor of the Church of Russia's authority over America due to its unchallenged presence on the American territory prior to the proliferation of multiple eparchies of Orthodox jurisdictions of the Holy Orthodox Churches. However, 50 some years later, it was a fact that there were canonical Orthodox dioceses functioning on this territory. The answer to this canonically anomalous organization of the church was not for one of those jurisdictions to be unilaterally declared "The Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America." A pan-Orthodox problem necessitates a pan-Orthodox conciliar solution.
When the "autocephaly" of the OCA's predecessor, the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Metropolia was being negotiated in secret between the Metropolia and the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Metropolia was under "anathema" of the later. Officially, these parties had no relationship; the Metropolia having been in a state of excommunication. At this time, and during the previous 46 years of the "excommunication" of the Metropolia by the Church of Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarchate's eparchy in the Western Hemisphere, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, graciously and lovingly maintained Communion with the Metropolia, the largest of 3 Russian jurisdictions in North America, considering the Russian Church's "anathema" an unfounded act attributable to the Communist Party's control of the Russian Church. In fact, it was imposed because the Metropolia rightly refused to sign "Loyalty Oaths," which would bar their clergy and lay faithful from criticizing the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Other Orthodox jurisdictions likewise maintained communion with the Metropolia during this time, a time when the Russian Church's Archdiocese always objected to the presence of Metropolia clergy at pan-Orthodox gatherings, while, of course, likewise objecting to the presence of clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Further, in the 1960's, the leading clergy of the Metropolia were actively involved in the Study and Planning Commission of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Fathers John Meyendorff and Alexander Schememann were close collaborators of the Chancellor of the GOANSA, Fr. George Bacopolous and of the Chairman of SCOBA, Archbishop Iakovos of America, along with Fr. Paul Shernilla (I apologize for spelling his name wrong) of the Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. These leaders of SCOBA were actively working toward seeking support from the Pre-Conciliar Commission for the preparation of the Holy and Great Synod (Council) of the Orthodox Church, to deem SCOBA a "Provisional Synod" of the Orthodox Churches in the Western Hemisphere, to work on a plan for development of an administratively unified church. In 1968, Frs. Bacopolous and Schernilla spoke to the Pre-Conciliar Commission, but were rebuked, the Commission indicating their agenda was full, but actually, the Church of Russia collaborated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate to preclude the topic, due to its "anathema" on the Metropolia and its known active involvement within SCOBA. Despite the rebuke, it was felt by many that this process would ultimately succeed.
Notice, this was a pan-Orthodox process, working to address a pan-Orthodox problem.
Note too, the Metropolia's close collaborators within SCOBA, were the same clerics who were secretly negotiating with the Church of Russia. In fairness to this issue, nearly 20 years ago, the OCA's former primate, Metropolitan Theodosios, claimed that the Metropolia's clergy were informing Archbishop Iakovos of the progress of their secret negotiations, however, to my knowledge, this allegation remains uncorroborated. Metropolitan Theodosios's information came from his time as a deacon working in the Metropolia's Chancery. I would note too, Metropolitan Theodosios' 27 year primatial tenure was largely discredited by the SIC (Special Investigation Committee) Report of September, 2008.
Finally, in the Fall of 1969, the Chancellor of the Metropolia, Fr. Joseph Pishtey (sp), released a statement that the Metropolia was engaged in discussions with the Patriarchate of Moscow to reconcile the absence of Communion between the two parties, and that the Church of Russia was preparing to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia. The Russian Church's Tomos of Autocephaly was issued the following Spring.
While the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Russia will assert canons and precident in support of their respective positions, it was the failure to observe the traditional practice of a conciliar, pan-Orthodox process, to demonstrate respect and good manners, that is the cause, as much as anything, that resulted in a stagnation of work toward a resolution of the anomalous organization of the church in North America, a stagnation that lasted 20 years, until Metropolitan Theodosios began attending SCOBA meetings.
I won't elaborate about the administrative weakness's of the "The Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America" at this point, but will bring to mind ROCOR's infamous statement of non-recognition of the OCA's autocephaly, "...the Greek [Orthodox] Archdiocese is larger and better organized."
A decade after its autocephaly, the OCA began a large decline in membership. The GOAA has progressed and grown numerically and in terms of financial strength. The GOAA's national mailing list has grown by 40 thousand over the last decade, to 165,000 from 125,000 in 1998, while the OCA's national mailing list continues to decline; it was at 33,000 in 2008. The GOAA's National Ministries budget exceeds $26 million, while the OCA's national budget is a paltry $2 million.
Would anyone think the GOAA could possibly say, "Hey, let's join in with this group."
This is not to diminish the excellence of the OCA's seminaries, the holiness of its priests and parishes, the devotion of its faithful, the fact that it has given us our Saints of North America.
Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate accepts the OCA as a canonical "self-governed" church, but cannot accept it as a sister among the Holy Orthodox Churches.