Definition of autocephalous in English:


Pronunciation /ˌôdəˈsefələs/ /ˌɔdəˈsɛfələs/


  • (of an Eastern Christian Church) appointing its own head, not subject to the authority of an external patriarch or archbishop.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fourteen autocephalous and autonomous churches were invited to send official delegates to this important event.’


Mid 19th century from Greek autokephalos (from autos ‘self’ + kephalē ‘head’) + -ous.



/ˌôdəˈsefələs/ /ˌɔdəˈsɛfələs/