[ aw-tuh-sef-uh-luh s ]
/ ˌɔ təˈsɛf ə ləs /

adjective Eastern Church.

(of a church) having its own head or chief bishop, though in communion with other Orthodox churches.
(of a bishop) subordinate to no superior authority; self-governing.

Origin of autocephalous

First recorded in 1860–65, autocephalous is from the Late Greek word autoképhalos having its own head. See auto-1, -cephalous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for autocephalous

British Dictionary definitions for autocephalous

/ (ˌɔːtəʊˈsɛfələs) /


(of an Eastern Christian Church) governed by its own national synods and appointing its own patriarchs or prelates
(of a bishop) independent of any higher governing body

Derived forms of autocephalous

autocephalic (ˌɔːtəʊsɪˈfælɪk), adjectiveautocephaly, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012