The man suspected of setting a fire at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church on Easter Sunday has been arrested, police say. 

Marc Porlier, 43, was taken into custody by the OPP Huntsville Detachment and has been charged with arson and mischief over $5,000. 

He will appear in court on Tuesday. 

Father Andrew Maderak said Porlier was a former parishioner at the church. 

'A divine hand'

Mayor John Tory, along with Coun. Frances Nunziata, visited the church Monday afternoon.

"This is a parish that's been here for 100 years. This particular building has been here for almost 65 years, so when this kind of thing happens it cuts to the heart of the community that's been a wonderful contributing community in our city for decades," said Tory, speaking outside the church. 

Mayor Tory

Mayor Tory met with parishioners from St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church Monday afternoon. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

The fire happened early Sunday morning, forcing the church to cancel its two scheduled Easter masses.

No one was injured. 

Father Maderak said the fire was contained to one area.


Damage from the fire caused inside the church. (CBC)

"Some type of flammable liquid was poured in and ignited. The fire was contained ... but the smoke damage and the soot that was produced by the fire migrated all the way to the other end of the church," he said. 

Parishioners said they were shocked by what happened, with one saying he could have never imagined this, "not even in his nightmares."

Mayor Tory said "divine intervention" may have saved the church. 

"It must have been a divine hand that looked down on this church because you can see how this church, the wooden part of this structure, could have erupted in flames if it had been any different"

The church will remain closed for the next few days for the clean up.