The date of Gotebald’s birth is unknown and the only news on his life before his election to patriarch of Aquileia, which occurred in 1049, is given by the chronicler Eriman who reports that he was ‘prepositus Nemetensis’ at that time. Gotebald took over the charge of patriarch in a period when the century-old tensions with the patriarchy of Grado and the Duchy of Venice had reached a climax. Even though he did not reach the excesses of his predecessor Poppo, Gotebald kept on his policy of opposition towards the Venetian ecclesiastical institutions, but his actions were not crowned with success. In 1053 during a council held in Rome, pope Leo IX promulgated a sentence according to which Grado was considered ‘Nova Aquileia’ and therefore for ever ‘caput et metropolis’ of the ecclesiastical province of ‘Venetia et Histria’, while the Aquileian patriarch called ‘Forojuliensis episcopus’ had to limit himself to exert his authority only over the inland. Even the confirmation of the privileges over Grado, which he obtained by emperor Henry IV in 1062, had no effect. In 1064, indeed, on the occasion of the council of Mantua who definitely acknowledged Alexander II as pope verso Honorius II (Cadalo), who had been supported by the German court and the patriarch, Alexander II renewed the patriarchal dignity to the patriarch of Grado, Domenicus. But this last humiliation was spared to Gotebald who had died in 1063.
His bishopric is characterized by the effort to achieve again the acknowledgement of the primacy of the see of Aquileia over Grado. It is also due to him the reconstruction of various religious buildings that had gone to ruin, among which St. Stephan’s of Aquileia, and the donation of grants to the monastery of St. Maria in Valle in Cividale.