Ivarsson succeeded his paternal uncle, Olav Trondsson, as archbishop in
Nidaros (Trondheim) in 1475.
After the death of Christian I in 1481, the Norwegian
National Council approached Sweden in an effort to win support for Norwegian
independence. Gaute Ivarsson participated in the meetings of the National
Council, giving his ardent support for Norwegian independence. In 1483,
however, the Norwegians agreed to elect Hans, the
son of Christian I, as king. King Hans was required to sign a coronation
charter that would ensure Norwegians full equality with the Danes. Gaute
Ivarsson crowned King Hans in the Nidaros Cathedral in 1483, but refused
to crown his son, Christian II, who had been sent
to Norway as governor, as long as his father Hans was alive. This resulted
in bitter enmity between Christian II and Gaute Ivarsson.
Gaute Ivarsson was the longest reigning archbishop in Nidaros, ruling for 35 years. During this time he travelled extensively in Trøndelag county, often acting as judge in secular matters as well as church affairs. He took a strong interest in the on-going work of building Nidaros Cathedral.
Gaute Ivarsson died in 1510.