For the people of Kavala, the Holy Lazarist Monastery of Kavala is identified with the Catholic Church. Indeed, the Missionary Priests (Lazarists) arrived in Kavala from Thessaloniki in 1887 and founded the Holy Monastery and the Holy Church of Saint Paul to offer their spiritual services to the French, Italians, Austrians, etc. catholics who lived in that area. The current community hall “Saint Paul” was built in 1900 by the builder of the Mission, P. Stefano Jougla, who built in 1902 the school (which no longer exists) that received the name of the Lazarist martyr in China, John Gabriel Perboyre.
Since their arrival in Kavala, the Fathers of the Mission worked creatively in the pastoral, educational and charitable fields. The John Gabriel Perboyre School operated with an average of 50 – 70 students until the interwar years. The ban on the enrollment of Orthodox students in Catholic Primary Schools in 1930 and the aftermath of World War II dealt a heavy blow to the educational work of the Lazarists. Because the situation did not improve after the war, also due to the reduction of the Catholic element, in 1947 the new cleric P. Edmondos Voutsinos gave the school the form of a French Language Tutoring. It continued to operate this way with remarkable success until the mid-1980s.
From 1909 to 1981, the Sisters of Mercy, a female order also founded by Saint Vincent de Paul, participated in the social work of the Lazarists. The nuns offered invaluable charitable and educational services to the people of Kavala, at the “Saint Josef” School and the small outpatient clinic, until their departure from Kavala in 1981.