TODAY is the feast day of Saint Joseph, father of Jesus. He was a carpenter and was told by the angel that Mary's pregnancy was divinely ordained. One visionary biography tells us that he was 89 at the time he married Mary and was celibate throughout his life; another, by a 15th-century nun, that he was 33, occasionally ate meat and died happily. In 1933, Pius XII designated him Joseph the Worker and gave him a second feast day on 1 May as "patron of those who combat atheistic Communism". This is in addition to his other duties as patron of carpenters, fathers, happy deaths, several countries including Vietnam, and, because of Bethlehem, house-hunters.
19 March 1872. Sergei Diaghilev (above) was born in Novgorod, Russia. For 20 years, 1909-29, he was the most brilliant, creative and exciting of artistic impresarios. His Ballets Russes, drawing notably on the talents of Igor Stravinsky, Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky, transformed the world of dance. Diaghilev trained as a lawyer in St Petersburg and it was not until he emigrated to Paris in 1906 that he found his vocation, marrying the new artistic movements in drama, painting, music and the dance to create an entirely new style of ballet. The Ballets Russes went on to tour the world, but Diaghilev never revisited Russia after the Bolshevik takeover.Reuse content