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Church in Cambodia

Capital : Phnom Penh
Population : 16 million
Catholics : 20,000
Jurisdictions : One Apostolic Vicariate, Two Apostolic Prefectures
Parishes : 63
Major Religions : Buddhism: 97.9%, Islam: 1.1%, Christianity: 0.5%, Other: 0.6%
Gaspar da Cruz, a Portuguese friar of the Dominican Order, brought Catholic faith to Cambodia during 1555-1556.

Friar Cruz admitted himself to be a complete failure as he could not convert many local people. He was disappointed that he "could not baptize more than one gentile," whom he "left in the grave".

Despite French colonization in the 19th century, Christianity had little influence in the country. According to the Vatican statistics, Catholics in the country numbered 120,000 in 1953, of which 50,000 were Vietnamese, making Christianity the second largest religion at the time.

In 1972, there were about 20,000 Christians in Cambodia, most of them were Catholics. Before the repatriation of the Vietnamese in 1970 and 1971, possibly as many as 62,000 Catholics lived in Cambodia.

Many of the Catholics who remained in Cambodia in 1972 were Europeans — mainly French. Even now, many among the Catholic Cambodians are whites and Eurasians of French descent.

Cambodia has some 20,000 Catholics, accounting for just 0.13 percent of some 16 million people in the country. There are no dioceses, but three ecclesiastical jurisdictions -- one apostolic vicariate and two apostolic prefectures.
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