St. Mary's Episcopal Church

Abingdon, MD

The Art of St. Mary's

A person integral to the existence of St. Mary’s as we know her today is the Rev. Dr. Johannes A. Oertell. Born in Bavaria and trained as a steel engraver, he came to the States to pursue a career as an artist.


Dr. Oertell was ordained a deacon of the Episcopal Church in 1867 and was eventually ordered to the priesthood and awarded his Doctor of Divinity degree from Sewanee in 1899.


In 1899 he painted for Dr. Brand the work which now hangs on the north wall of the chancel, The Breaking of Bread on the Road to Emmaus.


In 1893, due to the rector’s illness, Dr. Oertell was called to be the assistant to Dr. Brand. Oertell’s family followed him to Bel Air a year later, and a studio was opened on Main Street.


As a gift to the rector on his fiftieth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, Dr. Oertell painted the series of works which now grace the chancel. For the face of Moses, Oertell chose none other that Dr. Brand. Other faces in the works are those of persons active in the early life of the congregation.


In addition to the paintings, Dr. Oertell carved the lectern and built the pulpit which are still in use.

The works of Dr. Oertell

Click here for a description of our "Crown Jewels", the Stained Glass of St. Mary's Church

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1 St. Mary’s Church Road

Abingdon, MD 21009




(410) 569-0180