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Blessitt in 1983
|Born||Arthur Owen Blessitt
October 27, 1940
Greenville, Mississippi, US
|Occupation||Minister, author, evangelist|
|Spouse(s)||1. Sherry Simmons (19??-1990)[when?]
2. Denise Irja Blessitt (1990–present)
|Children||To Sherry: Gina, Joel, Joy, Joshua, Joseph, Jerusalem
To Denise: Sophia
|Parent(s)||Arthur Blessitt Sr. (father)
Mary Virginia Blessitt (mother)
|Arthur Blessitt Evangelistic Association Denver, Colorado|
Early life and career
Blessitt was born in Greenville, Mississippi, and grew up in northeast Louisiana, where his father managed a large cotton farm. At the age of 7 he accepted Christ at a revival meeting. In the late 1960s Blessitt began evangelizing to the youth of Hollywood, California. There he became known as the "Minister of Sunset Strip." Blessitt preached to hippies, Hells Angels, runaways, drug addicts, teen prostitutes, flower children, would-be actors, and rock stars. In March 1968, he opened a coffee house called His Place in a rented building next door to a topless go-go club. It was there that he first made a big cross to hang on the wall of the building on the inside. He started carrying the cross on Sunset Strip from time to time.
His first marriage was to Sherry Anne Simmons, whom he married within three weeks of dating. Together they had six children: Gina, Joel, Joy, Joshua, Joseph and Jerusalem. All his sons are named Arthur, and go by their middle names.
Arthur made the cross in 1968 to hang on the wall of 'His Place' on Sunset Strip, Hollywood. He made short cross-walks there. Then on Christmas morning in 1969, Blessitt began his journey with the cross, walking from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. In August 1971, Blessitt made his first overseas cross-walk beginning in Northern Ireland.
He has carried the cross to all parts of the world including war-torn countries such as Lebanon and parts of Africa to pray for peace. During the Cold War, Blessitt carried his cross into the Soviet Union, through Russia, the Baltic States, Ukraine and other countries. He has carried the cross through such places as Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, China, South Africa, Lebanon, India, Antarctica, Palestine, Israel, Cuba, Libya, Northern and Southern Yemen, Vietnam and Mongolia.
During his walk around the world, Blessitt has held audience with numerous world and religious leaders including, George W. Bush, Billy Graham, Pope John Paul II, Yasser Arafat and Muammar al-Gaddafi and was arrested 24 times.
He completed every nation and major island group on June 7, 2008 but is still walking on.
As of 2016 he is still carrying the cross in the U.S. and other nations. In total, Blessitt has walked over 41,552 miles through 323 countries (including Island Groups and Territories), of which 54 were in open war. He has crossed every ocean and walked on all seven continents (including Antarctica). He is known internationally as the "Pilgrim with the Cross." He is in the Guinness World Records Book 2015 on page 155 with a photo and story for Longest Around the World Ongoing Pilgrimage/Walk. His latest film documentary in 2014 is "The Cross Museum of Arthur and Denise Blessitt" "Arthur a Pilgrim" 1988 was his first documentary feature.
- Blessitt, Arthur (March 5, 2006). "Vol. 5 No. 8 "Jesus (and Mercy)"". Arthur Blessitt. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- The Cross at the Internet Movie Database
- "Netherlands". blessitt.com. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Oliver, John A. (July 31, 1978). "The World's Most Itinerant Preacher, Arthur Blessitt, Bears His Cross 17,000 Miles". People Weekly. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Frisbie, Annie Young (March 27, 2009). "The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
- See "Blessitt for President"
- "Evangelist Is Happy Loser In Presidential Bid" (Associated Press), as printed in the Poughkeepsie Journal, 17 July 1976, p. 9. Newspapers.com
- Give Me a J, Arthur Blessitt, Legacy Publishers International, 2006, ISBN 978-1-880809-49-5
- The Cross: 38,102 miles. 38 years. 1 mission, Arthur Blessitt, Authentic, 2009, ISBN 978-1-934068-67-0
- The Faith of George W. Bush by Stephen Mansfield ISBN 1-58542-309-2
- "Children of God/Jesus People" episode of Man Alive