1. Having its own head; independent of episcopal or patriarchal jurisdiction, as certain Eastern European churches.
2. Subordinate to no superior authority; self-governing.
From the Greek kephalos meaning ‘head’ (ie, self-headed). Cf autonomous, from nomos, menaing ‘law’ (ie, self-legislated).
The Orthodox Church in America was granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Moscow in 1970.