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adj. Christianity
Having a head bishop who is not responsible to any higher-ranking ecclesiastical authority. Used of churches in the Eastern Orthodox communion.

[From Byzantine Greek autokephalos : auto-, auto- + kephalos, head; see ghebh-el- in Indo-European roots.]

au′to·ceph′a·ly (-lē) n.


1. (Eastern Church (Greek & Russian Orthodox)) (of an Eastern Christian Church) governed by its own national synods and appointing its own patriarchs or prelates
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) (of a bishop) independent of any higher governing body
autocephalic adj
ˌautoˈcephaly n


(ˌɔ təˈsɛf ə ləs)

1. (of an Eastern church) having its own head bishop, though in communion with other Orthodox churches.
2. (of an Eastern bishop) subordinate to no superior authority.
[1860–65; < Late Greek autoképhalos having its own head]
References in periodicals archive ?
It is assumed that all major works on the design of not only the dome, but the altar of the temple will be completed by 2019, when the 800th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church will be celebrated.
Murzaku, Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Founding Chair of the Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, says in her analysis published in Crisis Magazine that there are no obstacles or reasons for the autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric not to be recognized by the other Orthodox Churches.
This decision gives hope for a final resolution of the status of the legitimate autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the family of Orthodox Churches.
The system of autocephaly has its roots in the early Church, in the form of the five ancient patriarchates--namely, of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem--known as the Pentarchy, whose harmony comprised the supreme manifestation of Church unity that was expressed in the Councils.
The period after the establishment of autocephaly in 1448, the victory of the Moscow dynasty over Novgorod, and the end of the Hordes overlordship was one of intense institution building in the church, just as it was for the new Russian state.
s study does not attempt to address the questions of autocephaly or philetism that continue to vex the Orthodox Church in America, largely assuming that the reader is already familiar with these issues.
Mirka Velinovska in Nova Makedonija comments that the Russian Church doesn't give a red cent for the Macedonian Autocephaly Church.
46) Likewise, on February 25, 1204, Pope Innocent III sent a bull to the new Tsar of Bulgaria regarding the pope's recognition of his Church's autocephaly and the customary right of the new metropolitan to consecrate the Sacred Chrism.
Six of them are in English, and cover warfare and military structure in the Hungarian Kingdom 1490-1526, representative and representing art foundations of the urban patriciate in Transylvania, the idea of Muscovite autocephaly from 1441 to 1467, the Bohemian diet in the Jagiellonian period 1471-1526, crusading at the time of the Hungarian royal elections of 1490, and Sigismund's response to defeat after the Crusade of Nicoplolis in 1396.
By appreciating the utopia of autocephaly it was either seen as an illustrious message directed to Moldavians calling to fight the enemies of the nation or as an invocation of Moldavians themselves asking God to save their land from enemies of their country and faith (16).
I think that we should not hold to fast to terms such as autocephaly and autonomy.