Definition of autocephalous in English:


Line breaks: auto|ceph¦al¦ous
Pronunciation: /ˌɔːtə(ʊ)ˈsɛf(ə)ləs
, -ˈkɛf-/


(Of an Eastern Christian Church) appointing its own head, not subject to the authority of an external patriarch or archbishop.
More example sentences
  • Further, the Orthodox tradition, with its autocephalous churches and sufficiently full agreement in doctrine, presents an alternative to centralized authority.
  • The Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America is an autocephalous church established in 1908.
  • Obviously, further definition is needed in this area to describe the relationships between autocephalous and national church communities, for example, but we cannot go into this here.


mid 19th century: from Greek autokephalos (from autos 'self' + kephalē 'head') + -ous.

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