from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Self-governing or autonomous: independent of other episcopal jurisdiction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having its own head; independent of episcopal or patriarchal jurisdiction, as certain Greek churches.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having a head or chief of its own; independent of jurisdiction: applied to a church.
  • Acting as an independent head; having primary jurisdiction: as, an autocephalous bishop or metropolitan.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek αὐτοκέφαλος (autoképhalos), from αὐτο- ("auto-") + κεφαλή (kephalē, "head").



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  • I was a bit suprised to learn that this isn't a medical/scientific term. From RH Unabridged:

    1. (of a church) having its own head or chief bishop, though in communion with other Orthodox churches.

    2. (of a bishop) subordinate to no superior authority; self-governing.

    July 23, 2007