His election in 1131 put an end to the controversy arisen after patriarch Gerard’s dismissal (1129). As a matter of fact Conrad, archbishop of Salzburg, great supporter of the papacy reformation, had engaged in sustaining the nomination of Engelbert, canon of Bamberg, but his efforts did not prove successful. Equally unsuccessful was the attempt of the opponents to Engelbert, who could not impose the archdeacon of Aquileia, Ulrich of Ortenburg, who was in his turn sustained also by emperor Lothair and the antipope Anacletus II. The two factions agreed about the name of Pellegrino. Pope Innocent II had way to show his favour towards Pellegrino in Pavia in 1132: since the latter had gone there to pay tribute to the pontifex in his return journey from France, the pope granted the patriarch a bulla through which he confirmed him the spiritual jurisdiction over the sixteen bishoprics and the large number of abbeys of his very wide patriarchal province. Pellegrino undertook to heal the contrasts with Salzburg which were arisen at the age of the investiture contest and, in 1132 at Gurk, he came to an agreement with the archbishop Conrad of Salzburg. Under Pellegrino’s patriarchy there were the first skirmishes of the secular conflict that was to oppose patriarchs to their advocates, the counts of Gorizia. The metropolitan of Aquileia was captured by Engelbert, who released him only thanks to the margrave of Styria’s intervention; then in 1150 , near Ramuscello, Pellegrino could impose his antagonist a treaty in which claims of Gorizia were restricted and the feudal rights of the Patriarchate safeguarded. By means of privileges and donations Pellegrino favoured a number of monastic foundations (Moggio, S. Maria di Aquileia, Viktring, Sankt Paul im Lavantal, Ossiach). In 1136 he founded the first Cistercian community in the Aquileian diocese, the abbey of Sittich (Slovenia) and, in 1140, the Benedictine abbey of Gorni Grad (Slovenia). However this policy is in contrast with the abuses of power the patriarch accomplished to the detriment of the Benedictine communities of Sesto and Rosazzo, and it confirms how not only laymen, but also the heights of clergy were opposite to the ideals of reformation in the Patriarchate. An effective reorganization of patriarchal chancellery must be assigned to Pellegrino: diplomas issued by his predecessors were very scarcely distinct from private acts, while with the new patriarch privileges acquires a solemn typology that reflects models devised in the imperial chancellery, but were also inspired to the papal bullae. Nonetheless a number of features in use at the age of Pellegrino were not welcomed by his successors who opted for more traditional and, obviously, less solemn models of documentation. It is also not to be excluded that in this same period, under Pellegrino, Venetian masters with a Byzantine training at that time active in the high Adriatic area started to paint the cycle of frescoes of the crypt in the basilica of Aquileia, among the highest examples of synthesis of the Western and Byzantine artistic culture. Pellegrino died on 8 August 1161 and was buried in the basilica of Aquileia.
For further information see the entry Povo (di) Pellegrino, patriarca d’Aquileia written by Massimo Dissaderi in Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 1, Il Medioevo, edited by C. Scalon, Udine, Forum, 2006, 697-700.