Parts of the St Marks with Christ Church in Glodwick, Oldham, were ablaze on Thursday evening, images show.
Six fire engines were deployed just after 9pm, with Glodwick Road closed and nearby residents told to keep windows and doors shut owing to the smoke, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said.
It comes after the 145-year-old building closed its doors after its last Mass on Sunday because of "continued problems" and "reasons beyond our control", according to its Facebook page.
With a spire of 141 feet, the sandstone building was constructed in 1874-6 and designed by local architect John Wild, its website states.
The website adds: "Although we are a parish in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England, we do not seek to exclude anyone from worshipping with us. Whatever your denomination or faith tradition you will be welcome in our parish family."
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