Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh
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Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh

Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh

Vicariatus Apostolicus de Phnom-Penh

Area31,946 km2 (12,334 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2010)
12,550 (0.2%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
Established30 August 1850 (As Vicariate Apostolic of Cambogia)
3 December 1924 (As Vicariate Apostolic of Phnom-Penh)
CathedralSaint Joseph Parish (Phsar Taught)
Current leadership
Apostolic VicarOlivier Schmitthaeusler, M.E.P.
Bishops emeritusYves Ramousse, M.E.P. Vicar Apostolic Emeritus (1992-2001)

The Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh (French: Vicariat apostolique de Phnom-Penh) is a territorial subdivision of the Roman Catholic Church in Cambodia. It is immediately subject to the Holy See and it is presided over by Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler M.E.P. since 10 October 2010.[1]

The vicariate covers an area of 31,946 km² of southern Cambodia, including Phnom Penh and other main urban areas such as Kep, Sihanoukville, Kandal, Takéo, Kampot, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces. As of 2002, of the 4.4 million citizens living in the area of this prefecture, 13,250 were members of the Catholic Church. The vicariate is subdivided into 7 pastoral centers, and has 26 priests.


The Vicariate Apostolic of Cambodia was erected on 30 August 1850. Since 1860 it was responsible for the provinces Phsar Dek, Châu c and Sóc Tr?ng of lower Cambodia, now part of Vietnam. In 1924, it was renamed as Vicariate Apostolic of Phnom Penh. On 20 September 1955, the vicariate became responsible for all of Cambodia. In 1968, the vicariate was split into three parts, with the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang responsible for the north west and the Apostolic Prefecture of Kompong Cham for the north east of the country.

During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, all religious activities were forbidden, and many Catholics were persecuted, especially priests and other ordinaries. Also many Vietnamese Catholics, the majority of Catholics in Cambodia, were either executed or expelled from the country. Most churches were also destroyed. The number of Catholics in the area of the vicariate fell from about 30,000 to less than 10,000. In 1989, the new constitution of Cambodia allowed freedom of religion once again, although the preaching of Christianity was still forbidden by the Council of Ministers. In March 1990, the Cambodian government gave its approval for a group of Catholics to celebrate Easter Sunday, the first public worship in Cambodia in 15 years.[2]

On 24 December 2009 the French priest Olivier Schmitthaeusler, M.E.P. was named Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of Phnom-Penh and Titular Bishop of Catabum Castra. He succeeded to bishop Destombes on 1 October 2010.

On 1 May 2015 the Cambodian Catholic Church opened an official diocesan inquiry for the martyrs in Tangkok, Kampong Thom Province, where Bishop Joseph Chhmar Salas died during the Khmer Rouge regime in 1977. The inquiry looks after the presumed martyrdom of at least 34 persons executed or let to die from April 1975 to 1978.



Coadjutor Vicars Apostolic

See also

List of Catholic dioceses in Laos and Cambodia


  1. ^ Bishop Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler, M.E.P. Catholic Hierarchy Database. MicroData Summary for Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler. Link retrieved on 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ Post Staff (25 March 2005). "Vanquished in the 70s, Catholic Church still on the mend". The Phnom Penh Post. Post Media Co Ltd. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "Bishop Yves Ramousse". Ucanews. Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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