A Pastoral Letter is an open letter addressed by a bishop to the clergy or laity of a diocese or to both, containing general admonition, instruction or consolation, or directions for behaviour in particular circumstances. Pastoral letters are issued in the Archdiocese of Verapoly by the Metropolitan Archbishop. The canons require that pastoral letters be read or otherwise distributed to the people. Pastoral letters may deal with any subject affecting the faith, practice, or worship of the people. They are often published during certain seasons, as in Lent or Advent. Over the centuries they have become expressions of the ordinary teaching authority of the Church.