The bizarre legal battle between two nuns and an archbishop over a Los Angeles hilltop convent that the latter wants to sell to pop megastar Katy Perry is to go to court today.

An order of nuns owns the multi-million dollar property in the hills surrounding L.A., and claims that it has sold it to a businesswoman, Dana Hollister, who intends to convert it into a 60-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar, for $10 million. However, L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez claims that it wasn’t theirs to sell in the first place, that the property actually belongs to the diocese and that Perry’s offer amounts to a better deal.

Katy PerryKaty Perry is one of the prospective buyers in the strange case

A ruling in favour of the archbishop will likely pave the way to Perry finalising her reported $14.5 million purchase of the desirable piece of real estate in the Los Feliz neighbourhood near Hollywood. The star isn’t technically a party to the hearing, but she is believed to have met with the nuns to attempt to assure them that she would be a fitting owner of the property, but they were reportedly unimpressed.

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A judge is set to hear the case on Thursday (July 30th), and will decide whether to block the sale to Hollister and prevent her from accessing the property (she has already begun restoring it after purchasing in June). In any case the final ruling may end up lying with the Vatican – meaning the dispute over who has the right to sell the property could go as far as Pope Francis himself.

The case has got the city’s real estate and legal sectors totally fascinated. “It's a great Los Angeles story and totally unprecedented in terms of all the players” says Adrian Glick Kudler, senior editor of real estate blog Curbed LA, to Billboard. “It's really a beautiful, old Hollywood estate… …you can certainly see why there's a fight over it. The fight is unique, too. I've never seen anything like this.”

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