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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
SPEAKING of priests, three bishops (Kykkos, Limassol, Tamasos) issued a joint declaration telling off hacks and threatening them with legal action, because they had been critical of the bishops' opposition to the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox church.
The conversations last about 54 minutes in total over the course of which Zaev and the pranksters table a lot of issues including the situation in Macedonia ahead of the referendum, who all came to the country to support then name-change process, relations between Kosovo and Serbia, whether Russia has any influence in our country, whether Ivanov is getting any support from Putin and the issue of the Macedonian Orthodox Church getting autocephaly.
The Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The Serb Orthodox Church clearly took Russia's side in its dispute with the Ecumenical Patriarch about the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church.
Asked what the position of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was on the recognition of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, he said the issue was yet to be tabled.
Since then, the struggle for autocephaly has begun to be seen not only as a church issue but also a matter of national security.
In the year 2019, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates the great jubilee of the Church - eight hundred years after obtaining autocephaly. The consecration of St.
At a ceremony in Istanbul, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, signed a decree on ecclesiastical independence, or autocephaly. The decree formalizes the creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, established last month by two of the country's largest churches.
The decree, granting "autocephaly", was signed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at a service with the head of the Ukrainian church Metropolitan Epifaniy and President Petro Poroshenko in St George's Cathedral in Istanbul.
15, the Russian church cut ties with the Fener Greek Patriarchate, and described the Patriarchateas decision on Ukrainian autocephaly as adissent.a
"He is imposing an autocephaly, which is alien to millions of believers, encouraging Poroshenko's and the Patriarchate of Constantinople's schismatic steps," she added.