After mild heart attack, bishop returns to Knoxville grateful for prayers

Bishop Richard Stika
Bishop Richard Stika


Bishop of Knoxville Richard F. Stika expressed his gratitude for the prayers of the faithful and reiterated his trust in Jesus after being released from a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital on August 21. The bishop  suffered a mild diabetes-related heart attack on Saturday, August 15.

The bishop had been participating in a Spanish language immersion program in San Antonio, Texas when he flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday to visit his ailing friend Archbishop Mansour Zayek, who was returning home to Lebanon.

The bishop suffered from flu-like symptoms which doctors believe contributed a high sugar level and brought on the heart attack.

“Bishop Stika was kept in the cardiovascular intensive care unit during the week as he amazed doctors and nurses with his rapid recovery from a life threatening illness,” the Diocese of Knoxville said in a statement. “When someone is diabetic, even a simple illness can rapidly become very serious.”

The bishop addressed a Monday morning press conference at the chancery office in Knoxville, offering his “deepest appreciation” to those who prayed for him.

“I stand here today as a witness to the great power of faith and prayer,” he said.

Since his admission to Holy Cross Hospital, he added, “I have personally experienced true Christian compassion and seen the face of Jesus on everyone from the hotel clerk who sat with me while we awaited the ambulance, all the way through to the many gifted physicians and nurses who saved my life.”

Noting his episcopal motto, “Jesus I trust in You,” he said the trial has “evermore strengthened” that trust.

“I’m doing much better now except for the vision in my right eye which has been impaired and the significant fatigue I am experiencing,” he told reporters, saying that he will follow doctors’ orders to reduce his schedule over the next several weeks.

He closed the press conference with a quotation from Psalm 118: “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!”

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