Arthur Blessitt

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Arthur Blessitt
Arthur Blessitt (1983).jpg
Blessitt in 1983
BornArthur Owen Blessitt
(1940-10-27) October 27, 1940 (age 78)
Greenville, Mississippi, US
OccupationMinister, author, evangelist
Spouse(s)1. Sherry Simmons (19??-1990)[when?]
2. Denise Irja Blessitt (1990–present)
ChildrenTo Sherry: Gina, Joel, Joy, Joshua, Joseph, Jerusalem
To Denise: Sophia
Parent(s)Arthur Blessitt Sr. (father)
Mary Virginia Blessitt (mother)
Offices held
Arthur Blessitt Evangelistic Association Denver, Colorado

Arthur Owen Blessitt[1] (born October 27, 1940 in Greenville, Mississippi, United States) is a traveling Christian preacher, most known for carrying a cross through every nation of the world.


Early life and career[edit]

Blessitt was born in Greenville, Mississippi,[2] 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.[3] He studied at Mississippi College and Golden Gate Baptist Seminary but abandoned his studies to serve as pastor in several Baptist churches across the US.[4]

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.[5] Together they had six children: Gina, Joel, Joy, Joshua, Joseph and Jerusalem.[3] All his sons are named Arthur, and go by their middle names.

In 1990 he married Denise. They have adopted one child, Sophia.[citation needed] As of the late 2000s, he lives in Denver, Colorado.

Cross walk[edit]

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. He later said he heard the voice of Jesus calling him to walk to every nation.[6] For a short while, he set up an evangelical outreach on New York's Times Square, which was similar to his Hollywood coffeehouse.[4] 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 the world to share Jesus. 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. [6]

On part of the cross-walk through Beirut, Blessitt chose to bring his son Joshua.[7]

He completed every nation and major island group on June 7, 2008 but is still walking on.

As of 2018 he is still carrying the cross in the U.S. and other nations. This is the 50th year of Arthur carrying the cross (1968-2018). Over 42,279 miles (68,042km) through 324 countries (including Island Groups and Territories), of which 54 were in open war. This is about 84.5 million steps and about 19 billion pounds carried. 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 is the subject of a 2009 documentary feature, The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story, directed by Matthew Crouch.[2]


He made a failed bid for the 1976 Democratic nomination for President. After, he said, "we need a born-again, soul-winning witness in the White House".[8][9]


  1. ^ Blessitt, Arthur (March 5, 2006). "Vol. 5 No. 8 "Jesus (and Mercy)"". Arthur Blessitt. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  2. ^ a b The Cross on IMDb
  3. ^ a b "Netherlands". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  4. ^ a b Balmer, Randall Herbert (2002). Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780664224097.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Quite interesting". Telegraph. 26 April 2008.
  7. ^ Frisbie, Annie Young (March 27, 2009). "The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  8. ^ See "Blessitt for President"
  9. ^ "Evangelist Is Happy Loser In Presidential Bid" (Associated Press), as printed in the Poughkeepsie Journal, 17 July 1976, p. 9.


External links[edit]