Ordinary (church officer)

An ordinary (from Latin ordinarius) is an officer of a church or civic authority who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute laws.

Pope Pius XI, depicted in this window at Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu, was ordinary of the universal Church as well as the Diocese of Rome from 1922 to 1939. At the same time, Bishop Stephen Alencastre, Apostolic Vicar of the Sandwich Islands, was the ordinary of what is now the Diocese of Honolulu.

Such officers are found in hierarchically organised churches of Western Christianity which have an ecclesiastical legal system.[1] For example, diocesan bishops are ordinaries in the Catholic Church[1] and the Church of England.[2] In Eastern Christianity, a corresponding officer is called a hierarch[3] (from Greek ἱεράρχης hierarkhēs "president of sacred rites, high-priest"[4] which comes in turn from τὰ ἱερά ta hiera, "the sacred rites" and ἄρχω arkhō, "I rule").[5]

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