The order, made against the Rev David Saunders by magistrates in Cullompton, Devon, is thought to be the first of its kind. It concerns the grade II listed All Saints Church in Blackborough, a hamlet with a population of 100, and it follows a complaint by Mid Devon District Council in April that the church was in a dangerous condition.
Mr Saunders, who is responsible for the church, said the parochial church council wanted All Saints demolished and a new church built on the same site.
The court was shown photographs of decayed and cracking brickwork, how part of the ceiling had fallen in, and roof timbers hanging over the aisle.
If the vicar does not comply with the order, the local council could carry out the work and recover the expense. He could also face a fine.