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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 ?
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, known by the acronym GVHSP, was the main force behind the push to secure landmark status for the building, which was built in 1866 as the First German Baptist Church and became the Ukrainian Autocephalic Church of St.
internationally, the synodal concerto of autocephalic patriotisms, ethnicities and Christianity constitute the European nationalism.
This project was voted by the Chamber of Deputies (4th of December 1872) and by the Senate (11th of December 1872) and ammended on the 14/16th of December 1872, under the name of Organic law for the election of metropolitan bishops and eparchy bishops and the establishment of the Holy Synode of the Romanian Autocephalic Orthodox Church.
Such a ruling would be a major step in granting the UOC-KP autocephalic (independent) status, making it an ecclesiastical equal to the UOC-MP.