The Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh


Bishop Olivier SCHMITTHAEUSLER was born on June 26th, 1970 in Strasbourg (France). He was ordained as a priest on June 28th, 1998 and he is a member of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (mep).

He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh on Dec 24th, 2009 and ordinated on Mar 20th, 2010. He took full responsibility of the Vicariate on Oct 1st, 2010.

Address: Monivong av. 787, BoeungTrabek, Chamcarman,Phnom Penh 12305 P.O. Box 123, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Former Bishops

Bishop Emile Destombes, 1997 – 2010

Bishop Emile Destombes was born on August 15, 1935 at Rocq in France. He joined the Paris For eign Mission Society (MEP) and he made his studies at the MEP seminary and the Sorbonne University of Paris. He was ordained priest on December 21, 1961 and was sent as a missionary to Cambodia in 1964.

In 1975, he was forced to leave Cambodia with other missionaries by the Khmer Rouge. He came back to Cambodia in 1989, as Cartitas International worker. In this role, he could find and meet some Catholics in Battambong, Chamnom and other villages surrounding his work.

On 14 April 1990, after the church had suffered through the civil war, the celebrated the first mass with thousand of Catholic people and representative from Cambodia People Party. On October 5, 1997, he was consecrated Bishop and appointed Coadjutor Bishop to Mgr. Yves Ramousse, the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh.

On April 14, 2001 Bishop Emile Destombes succeeded Mgr. Ramousse as the new Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh.

In the role of Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, he tried very hard to proclaim the Good News and rebuild the Church. His priority in the mission is education including Catechism and general education, serving poor sick people …many schools were built and health care centers were established.

Bishop Yve Ramousse, 1963 – 2001

He was born on February 23, 1928 in Smbadel, France. He joined the Paris Foreign Mission Society and made his studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and at the Catholic university in Paris. Ordination priest on April 4, 1953.  On February 24, 1963, he was consecrated bishop and was nominated as the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh.

He was forced to leave Cambodia on April 30, 1975 by Khmer Rouge, and he resigned as Vicar of Phnom Penh in 1976 to be succeeded by Msgr. Joseph Chhmar Salas coadjutor Bishop of Vicariate by then. Bishop Chhmar was death during Khmer Rouge regime. The Holy See nominated Bishop Yves Ramousse on February 6, 1983, as Bishop of all the Khmer Catholic around the world.

On July 25, 1992, he was re-appointed as the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh until 2001, and he was appointed as the Apostolic Administration of Battambong on December 21, 1992 until 2000.

Bishop Joseph Chhmar Salas, 1975 – 1977

He was born in 1940 in Phnom Penh. He did his theological in Paris. He was ordained priest in 1964 and served the Church in Battambong as trainer Catechists.

He was consecrated Bishop on April 14, 1975 and was appointed as Coadjutor Bishop of Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh.

Before his ordination as a bishop, he lived in France. When he received the letter of Mgr. Yves Rmousse asking him to come back, he immediately returned. He seemed to acknowledge that he will die in  his own country in civil war. But he obeyed and came back to Cambodia to live and suffer with Cambodian catholics. He died of exhaustion in 1977 at the local Pagoda of Taing kork, Kompong Thom province.