ORDINARY (med. Lat. ordinarius, Fr. ordinaire), in canon law, the name commonly employed to designate a superior ecclesiastic exercising " ordinary " jurisdiction (jitrisdictionem ordinariam) , i.e. in accordance with the normal organization of the church. It is usually applied to the bishop of a diocese and to those who exercise jurisdiction in his name or by delegation of his functions. Thus, in Germany, the term ordinariat is applied to the whole body of officials, including the bishop, through whom a diocese is administered. In English law, however, the term ordinary is now confined to the bishop and the chancellor of his court. The pope is the ordinarius of the whole Roman Catholic Church, and is sometimes described as ordinarius ordinariorum. Similarly in the Church of England the king is legally the supreme ordinary, as the source of jurisdiction.
The use of the term ordinary is not confined to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In the civil law the judex ordinarius is a judge who has regular jurisdiction as of course and of common right as opposed to persons extraordinarily appointed. The term survived throughout the middle ages wherever the Roman law gained a foothold. In the Byzantine empire it was appHed to any one filling a regular office (e.g. inraTos bpbivapLo$ = consul ordinarius, opxw 6p8i,vapLos = praefectus ordinarius); but it also occasionally implied rank as distinct from office, all those who had the title of clarissimus being sometimes described as opSivapLOL. In England the only case of the term being employed in its civil use was that of the office of judge ordinary created by the Divorce Act of 1857, a title which was, however, only in existence for the space of about eighteen years owing to the incorporation of the Divorce Court with the High Court of Justice by the Judicature Act 1875. But in Scotland the ordinary judges of the Inner and Outer Houses are called lords ordinary, the junior lord ordinary of the Outer House acts as lord ordinary of the bills, the second junior as lord ordinary on teinds, the third junior as lord ordinary on Exchequer causes. In the United States the ordinary possesses, in the states where such an officer exists, powers vested in him by the constitution and acts of the legislature identical with those usually vested in the courts of probate. In South Carohna he was a judicial officer, but the olfice no longer exists, as South Carohna has now a probate court.
In the German universities the Professor ordinarius is the occupant of one of the regular and permanent chairs in any faculty.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)