Autocephalous, from Greek auto "self" + cephalous "head", literally means "self-governing".
Autonomous churches of Christianity do not recognize a single ruling doctrinal and ecclesiastical governmental authority such as the Pope. Both Orthodox and Protestant churches boast autocephalous assemblies, local, regional and international.
The autocephalous "jurisdictions" of Orthodoxy recognize each other as holding the same basic doctrine of Christianity as received from the time of the apostles.
Protestant churches which do not recognize a central authority are both those that broke away from a larger ecclesiastical body to form independent denominational groups and churches, and those that formed independently from their beginnings as groups that officially declared that they are locally self-governed and recognize only the Bible as the rule of faith (sola scriptura). Protestant churches are noted for divisions based on differences of interpretation of biblical doctrines and disputes over meanings of legitimate church government authority.
- List of autocephalous and autonomous churches (orthodoxWiki.org)
- The Autocephalous Churches and the Institution of the 'Pentarchy' – The OCP media network (theorthodoxchurch.info)
- The Anglican Free Communion: The Free Protestant Episcopal Church – Since 1897 (anglicanfreecommunion.org.uk)
- List of Christian denominations - Wikipedia