The head of the largest religious denomination in Finland has praised the country’s passage of same-sex marriage.

Finland became the last Nordic country to approve same-sex marriage yesterday, when MPs narrowly approved a measure by a vote of 105-92.

The vote – which came as the result of an earlier citizen’s initiative – will take some time for marriages to become law, with further legislation required to be drafted next year. The first marriages are projected to take place in 2017.

Kari Mäkinen, the archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, spoke out to praise the ruling.

He said: “I know how much this day means for rainbow people, their loved ones and many others. I rejoice with my whole heart for them and with them.

“We are in the same situation as our neighbouring Nordic Churches: our concept of marriage needs a fundamental examination.

“Speaking for myself, I think it is time for reconsideration. It will take place from the standpoint of the church’s own principles.”

“I would like to warmly thank the proponents of the law, and all those who have taken part in the debates, regardless of position.”

He added: “There are many who are now disappointed and feel concern. This is understandable.

“Their experience will be respected, and the Church will listen to their fears in future, as well as in society as a whole.

“I would like to say to them: I don’t think anyone’s marriage will lose importance, the Church’s faith is not under threat, and human dignity is not in decline – quite the contrary.”

“I hope and pray that this discussion is open to all in the future, and portrays the diversity and richness of the world.”