Autonomous Orthodox churches are those churches which have self-government. Autonomy (literally, “self-ruled”) is the status of a church within the Orthodox Church whose primatial bishop is confirmed by one of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches. In all other respects, an autonomous church is entirely self-governing.
There are five Orthodox churches which, although functioning independently on a day-to-day basis, are canonically dependent on an autocephalous Orthodox church.
In practice this means that the head of an autonomous church must be confirmed in office by the Holy Synod of its mother autocephalous church.