Church officials say that worshippers celebrated Easter Mass near the smoking ruins of a 230-year-old church in western Finland, burned down the night before in an apparent arson attack.

Jussi Leppala, spokesman for the Ylivieska church, says the fire came as a shock to the congretation, finding difficuly in expressing his feelings but added that it was almost like "having your home burn down."

Chief Superintendent Mikko Vuorio of the Oulu police said officers had detained one male suspect on suspicion of setting the fire. Vuorio said the man had "provisionally" admitted to the attack, but he gave no motive or other details of the suspect or the alleged attack.

The Ylivieska church, built in 1786, burned beyond repair, Leppala said.