Also found in: Wikipedia.


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 ?
Dr Church of Sweden Sweden 4 Mr Russian Orthodox Church Russian Federation (Moscow Patriarchate) 5 Mr Centerfor Disability and Zimbabwe Development 6 Ms Finnish Orthodox Aid Finland 7 Dr Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Poland Church 8 Dr Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland Finland 9 Bishop Dr Methodist Church Nigeria Nigeria 10 Dr Christian Methodist Episcopal USA Church 11 Rev.
The Cyprus Orthodox Church is an autocephalous institution and the school would serve the growing need of the Church to cultivate its own theological education, he said.
As Herman Pottmeyer notes, without a center of unity and ministry of communion, the Eastern Church "saw its unity disintegrate into a multiplicity of autocephalous or autonomous churches, which have not found their way to a workable communion among themselves.
Vraniskovski's stay in Russia also coincides with the holding of the ecumenical council of all orthodox churches in Istanbul in 2016, the first in over 1,200 years, at which the issue of granting the autocephalous status to unrecognized churches will also be tabled," analysts add.
Even though the Macedonian Orthodox Church declared itself autocephalous in 1967, its status as such has not yet been recognized.
The messiness of the ecclesiastical apparatus in the middle is striking: provinces, patriarchates, autocephalous churches, episcopal conferences and assemblies, all variously shaped bodies coming into being at some historical point
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East is one of 14 autocephalous churches under the Orthodox communion.
proclaiming the maintenance of the autocephalous regime and the principle of self-governance or autonomy for a certain church, in particular, or for all religious groups, in general: (Greece, Hungary); 4.
This text is more likely a product of the campaign of the institutionalized Cypriot Church to gain autocephalous status.
The seat of the Orthodox Christian metropolitanate of Rus', still formally subservient to Constantinople, moved to Moscow; it unilaterally became autocephalous (self-ruling) in 1448 and a fully independent patriarchate in 1589.
The Russian Orthodox Church also adhered to the position to recognize the unity of the autocephalous canonical area of the Georgian Orthodox Church, thereby recognizing the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as officially belonging to the sphere of influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church--a clear demarcation from the policy of the Russian State.
By analyzing the situation with the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) and its effort to gain autocephalous status, Professor Ljubomir Frckovski is convinced that the Serbian church will never give us the autocephaly if this only depends on their will.