I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics. I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.
Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this. Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not. :-)
I think those posters who have emphasized the need for studying the Christological issues, becoming familiar with concrete communities, and praying for God's guidance in determining where he wants one to be are on the right track.
The "numbers" approach described above surely cannot be correct, else Western Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism trump all forms of Christian Orthodoxy. Is it "numbers plus distribution"? Even so, the problem remains. Israel, from which came Christ, has always been a small bit of humanity compared to the rest of the planet, yet we don't discount their "correctness" regarding matters of faith relative to the other nations just because they were not as numerous or well represented across the globe. They were "right" because they were "right", because God revealed his Word--his truth--to them in a way he didn't to the other nations. And the Church is the Church because it, too, is "right": what God has revealed and handed down she has kept and passed on without change. That's what you have to look for, not simply a few vital statistics.
Is the numerically limited membership and distribution of the OO Churches, whether at present or throughout history, simply an "infertility" issue, or are there other historical factors at play? Might it, in some way, be an element of divine providence, a "faithful remnant" whom God has seen fit to keep small for whatever reason? We could ask the same, obviously, regarding the EO Churches, larger than us but smaller than others. After all, from an Orthodox perspective, the larger numbers and distribution of the Roman Catholic Church have nothing to do with the fact that their beliefs on certain key issues are just plain heretodox (leaving aside for now other factors, like reproduction, wars, relative freedom or oppression, forced conversions and other bad missionary methods, etc.).
The Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic when it was just a hundred and twenty people coming out of their "upper room" hide-out in a city on the borders of the Roman Empire on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection. If it maintains that same Orthodox faith, it still remains all of those things two thousand years later, even if it is just forty million or so Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Armenians, Syriacs, and Indians in their "homelands" or scattered "abroad". It's about the faith; don't get distracted by math.