And sacramentalism informs the great discourses concerning rebirth by water and the spirit, and feeding on the Living Bread, Jesus' flesh and blood, and the narrative of the issue of blood and water from the dead Jesus' side.
In spite of the fact that in a few of its later representatives Gnosticism assumed a more refined and spiritual aspect, and even produced blossoms of a true and beautiful piety, it is fundamentally and essentially an unstable religious syncretism, a religion in which the determining forces were a fantastic oriental imagination and a sacramentalism which degenerated into the wildest superstitions, a weak dualism fluctuating unsteadily between asceticism and libertinism.
Serapion of Thmuis in Egypt, a younger contemporary of Athanasius, in his Eucharistic prayers combines the language of the Didache with a high sacramentalism alien to that document which now only survived in the form of a grace used at table in the nunneries of Alexandria (see Agape).
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